Does the New Jersey Board of Nursing Care About Criminal Charges?

New Jersey’s Board of Nursing was established to protect the health, safety and welfare of New Jersey’s residents by ensuring that those who practice nursing are qualified and competent to do so. Individuals applying for licensure as a Registered Nurse (RN) or Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) must undergo a Criminal Background Check. Even an arrest without a conviction can be a risk to your nursing license, including convictions for domestic violence.

Find out more about how a charge of domestic violence can impact your chance of becoming a nurse or renewing your license below. If you are a nurse or another professional that holds a professional license, know that a criminal conviction can put your license and future career at risk. Reach out to the team of former prosecutors at the Bianchi Law Group for help facing charges and protecting your future.

How Might a Domestic Violence Conviction Impact Your Nursing License?

When you apply for a nursing license, you undergo a background check. That includes a check of your criminal record. Convictions on your record can impact whether or not you’re approved for a nursing license, even if you completed nursing school, passed the requisite exam, and paid the required fees.

New nurses seeking licensure aren’t the only ones that can be impacted, though. When you apply to have your license renewed, criminal and other background checks may be run. If a conviction shows up, your license renewal may be put at risk.

Not all convictions carry the same weight with the nursing board. Felony crimes are more serious than misdemeanor convictions.

What if You’re Charged and Not Convicted?

If you are arrested but aren’t convicted of a crime, you may be in better standing than if you were convicted. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean your license is 100 percent safe. Nursing boards may look at a history of arrest and decide that the facts of your case warrant a suspension of your license.

For example, imagine a scenario where someone is charged with domestic violence. The alleged victim in the case has claimed harassment and filed a restraining order against the person who is being charged. The existence of the restraining order and the fact that an arrest was made may be factors the nursing board considers, even if the person is not convicted of the crime in court.

Is Your License Automatically Suspended?

In most cases, the nursing board notifies you that it intends to revoke or suspend your license—or take any other disciplinary action against you for any reason. You typically have an option to respond to the notification, though there may be deadlines, documentation requirements, and hearings involved.

It’s critical that you don’t ignore any notifications from the nursing board. You may have a limited amount of time to answer any allegations or accusations, so acting quickly can help you protect your nursing license and your career. That’s especially true if you are facing allegations and charges but have not been convicted or don’t end up with a conviction.

Can You Hide Charges or Convictions From the Nursing Board?

Of course not. The New Jersey Administrative Code requires that licensed nurses self-report if they are indicted or convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude, including those related to domestic violence. If you don’t self-report, the nursing board will eventually discover this fact when it runs background checks during license renewal processes. At that point, you’re dealing with potentially two strikes against you: the conviction and the failure to report it. Even if there are mitigating circumstances related to the charges or conviction that might have swayed the nursing board to be lenient, the fact that you failed to report would probably erase any of that potential goodwill.

Why It’s Important to Work With a Criminal Defense Team

Your professional license isn’t the only thing on the line when you’re facing criminal charges. Even if you aren’t convicted, how the case plays out can impact your social standing and career. If you are convicted of criminal charges, you can face time in jail or prison as well as fines and probation.

Individuals convicted of certain crimes in New Jersey also forfeit a number of rights, including rights related to owning or possessing firearms, voting, and getting new professional licenses in the future.

If you are charged with a crime related to domestic violence—or any other crime, for that matter—reach out to a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Contact the Bianchi Law Group by calling 862-225-1965 to find out how our team of criminal defense attorneys can help you plan and execute a defense against charges.