An arrest on suspicion of driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol triggers many legitimate worries. As a nurse, you may fear that the Colorado State Nursing Board will revoke your nursing license or put you on probation. Your employer’s policies on the matter could present a greater concern. Employers can have more stringent rules regarding arrests or convictions for driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while ability is impaired (DWAI).
First offenses versus subsequent offenses
Arrests for DUI/DWAI happen to people from all walks of life. A first offense may not trigger any reaction from the nursing board. You will, however, have to deal with the likely suspension of your driver’s license until you resolve your criminal charges. The loss of your driving privileges could interfere with your ability to get to work. In that event, your employer might choose to discipline you or terminate your employment.
A second or third offense for drunk or drugged driving could raise more concerns from your employer and the nursing board. One or both entities may conclude that you have a substance abuse problem. To maintain your employment or licensing, you might have to attend a substance abuse program.
First step after your DUI arrest
Because many employers require their nursing staff to pass background checks, your employment contract may obligate you to report the arrest. If you do not have to inform your employer of the arrest, you may still need to report a conviction should one occur.
For this reason, you need to find out if you must report the incident to your employer or the nursing board. The state’s regulatory agency does not necessarily penalize you unless evidence indicates that alcohol or drug use has compromised your work performance.