Are you aspiring to become a Registered Nurse (RN) or Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN), but are apprehensive because you believe a past legal blunder may hinder your chances? Higbee & Associates may be able to assist you.


To practice as an RN or LVN, the California State Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) requires applicants to undergo a fingerprint background check in order to review any criminal history, and requires you to report any and all misdemeanor or felony convictions, as well as any health care related disciplinary actions against you.


Oftentimes, it may be uncertain whether a past encounter with the law resulted in a conviction, perhaps due to the fact that the incident occurred many years ago, or because lines may blur between state laws. It would be wise to initially evaluate your criminal record to determine how a case was officially disposed of.


Furthermore, it is important for you to understand that there is no specific type of conviction that will disqualify you as an applicant to become an RN or LVN from the outset. The BRN considers all convictions and supporting documentation on a case-by-case basis.


The supporting documentation is what will make or break your ability to obtain a license. When reporting a prior conviction or disciplinary action, you must additionally submit a written explanation of the incident.


This written explanation serves several purposes. It informs the BRN of the charges against you through obligatory attached copies of arrest and court documents, and/or any related documents for disciplinary proceedings. It also informs the BRN of the year of the incident, the location of the incident, any sanctions or penalties imposed upon you, and completion dates. Most importantly, it gives you the opportunity to explain the circumstances of your incident to the BRN. This, coupled with administrative documents, helps the BRN assess the circumstances of your incident in its totality. Finally, it gives you the opportunity to explain how you’ve changed since the incident, and showcase your rehabilitative efforts.


The burden of proof to show rehabilitative efforts is on the applicant’s shoulders. This evidence should include changes in your personal and professional life, letters of reference and evaluation, and any court-issued documentation that may build your case, such as evidence of an expungement or proof of compliance. You should be aware that when applying for a state license, an expungement would still be able to be accessed and viewed by the state board; however, it would look much better than leaving the conviction as is. Higbee & Associates knows what information will give you the best chance of successfully obtaining your state license.


You should also understand that even if your application for licensure is denied, you have the right to a hearing before an administrative law court system within 60 days of the denial. In such hearings you are able to deliver your case to a panel of judges either by yourself, or with an attorney who will present your case on your behalf. Our attorneys are familiar with the procedural side of administrative law and will implement effective strategies to deliver an aggressive argument in your name.


Contact Higbee & Associates

To speak with a lawyer at Higbee & Associates about a nurse licensing matter, call (714) 617-8383, or contact the firm online.