Michael C. Hennenberg

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Ohio Criminal Law Blog

What happens to my nursing license if I'm convicted of a crime?

Nursing school isn't easy. Classes are rigorous. You must study for and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for registered nurses (RNs), NCLEX-RN before you can submit a licensing application to the Ohio Board of Nursing. With all that you have to put into becoming a nurse, you wouldn't want to do anything to put your license at risk. A criminal conviction on your record could put your career in jeopardy though.

One of the first steps that the board does when they receive your application for a professional nursing license is to perform a criminal background check on you. An arrest or a conviction on your record doesn't automatically disqualify you from being awarded an RN license in a state. Boards generally consider each applicant's file individually.

Pharmacists can run into trouble with opioids

Pharmacists need to be very careful with opioids. They can find themselves in legal trouble even when they did not know that anyone was abusing the drugs or using them improperly. This is a response to the opioid crisis, which has led to a lot of abuse and overdose deaths, and pharmacists need to know what warning signs to look out for.

One of the most common signs of opioid abuse is extensive use that does not seem to match up with the population in a specific area. This could mean that the drugs are getting abused and used too often or that they are getting distributed to other people in other areas.

Can you have multiple felonies sealed?

You have a criminal record, and it is impacting your ability to work. Even though you have served your time, you still can't get a job. Maybe you lost the license you need to work. Everything has grown more complicated and you're looking for a way to get things back on track.

At the same time, you know that you can, in some cases, have your records sealed. This means that most background checks will not show your criminal record, allowing you to have a fresh start and begin working again. Maybe you even know someone who has done this and they told you to look into it.

Can a doctor practice in another state?

The rule of thumb used to be that doctors and medical professionals could only practice in the state where they were licensed. There were exceptions sometimes for emergency situations, but most doctors had no authority to cross state lines without a new license.

That's not always true these days. In 2015, seven states joined the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC). This agreement allows doctors who are properly licensed in one participating state to practice in other participating states.

Drug use among pilots

Drug use is dangerous for anyone who operates a vehicle, but the risks are tremendously high for pilots. An impaired driver who causes a crash may just injure themselves or a few others on the road. An impaired pilot who causes an aviation accident could literally take dozens of lives in a split-second.

Naturally, this means that the authorities are very strict about drug use among pilots. Those who commit drug crimes, even if they do not lead to an accident, could lose their pilot's licenses and see other serious career ramifications. To some degree, the same is true for the use of alcohol -- which, after all, is a drug.

Long shifts lead truck drivers to drug use

When you think about truck drivers and drug use, do you think about alcohol first? Maybe you worry about drunk driving and the odds of getting into an accident with an impaired truck driver.

It does happen, but alcohol use is actually one of the most minor issues that truck drivers face. Researchers have found that drug use is far more common. The most common drugs that they used were amphetamines and cocaine. In fact, nearly one out of every three drivers used amphetamines.

What an OVI stop means for your commercial license

As a professional driver, your license is your livelihood. You spend almost every workday behind the wheel. You need that license to support your family and make your career into everything you worked so hard for it to become. There is no other option. There is no Plan B.

You also know, of course, that driving under the influence is illegal. That's true for all drivers in Ohio. But what does that OVI stop mean for you specifically, as a commercial driver? Here are a few things that you need to know:

  • If a test shows that you have any amount of alcohol in your system, it is mandatory for you to go out of service for the next 24 hours. This is true every time you get stopped. Remember, that means that even a single drink with dinner -- something many people enjoy without thinking twice about it -- could be enough to sideline you for a day. With tight schedules and payments based on miles driven, this can become very, very costly.
  • If your breath test comes in at 0.04%, you lose your license for a year. That's just for your first offense. If it happens again, your career is over. You lose your license for life. Ohio takes this very seriously. Please note that 0.04% is just half of the legal limit of drivers who are not professionals. Commercial drivers are held to a higher standard.
  • The same as the above is true if you have a blood test that comes in at 0.048% or a urine test that comes in at 0.056%. The breath test is the most common way that police test drivers and they can do it at the scene, but it is not the only way. They can order other tests as needed.

For some doctors, access to opioids is too tempting

Doctors and nurses have far greater access to prescription drugs like opioids, than your average citizen. As such, there is a temptation for some to commit drug crimes -- namely, stealing the medications and then distributing them or using them themselves.

For instance, one report looked at the numbers for 2018 and discovered that about 47 million doses of opioids got stolen during the course of the year. There were legally prescribed medications. If you feel like that's a lot, you're correct. In fact, it was a 126% increase from 2017.

Reasons a nurse may lose a license

Getting a nursing license is the start of a hopefully long and productive career. It's a critical part of the process and a nurse cannot practice without one, no matter how well-educated, well-trained or experienced he or she is.

That's why it's such a serious blow when a nurse loses their license. A single mistake can completely end their career or at least temporarily put a stop to it. The ramifications are dire.

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