Nursing License Defense

Former Prosecutor Defending Your License, Reputation & Career.


California Nursing License Defense Attorney

  Representing Nurses in Orange County, California

Our California nursing license defense attorney represents nurses facing investigations, statement of issues, accusations and disciplinary actions from the California Board of Registered Nursing.

  Nurse DUI, License and Criminal Defense

Even minor criminal charges or a DUI can create serious issues for Nurses. Our lawyers are adept at licensing defense, nurse DUI and criminal defense.

  Experienced Former Government Prosecutor Defending You

When the stakes are high, our highly skilled professional license & criminal defense attorney will skillfully work to protect your license, your reputation and your career.

Nurse License Defense Attorney California

When a nurse is contacted by an investigator or an attorney for their licensing board, it is critical to consult with an experienced nursing license defense attorney before responding. Often skilled counsel can help present a response that can result in the matter being closed with no formal accusation or citation.

You care for patients – now let us take care of you

If you are facing an investigation or disciplinary action by the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) or the Board of Vocational Nurses and Psychiatric Technicians (BVNPT), give us a call. We understand the stress you are feeling and our nurse license defense attorney is 100% focused on protecting you and your license. We do not judge, we are only here to help and support you.

Nursing license defense in Orange County

We have a wealth of experience representing licensed professionals with their varying licensing, investigation and disciplinary actions and procedures. We represent:

  • Registered Nurses (RN)

  • Licensed Practicing Nurses (LPN)

  • Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVN)

  • Advanced Practice Nurses (APRN)

  • Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS)

  • Nurse Practitioners (NP)

  • Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM)

You can depend on us to skillfully defend you and help minimize exposure to citations, suspensions or other disciplinary actions.

Skilled in substance abuse, DUI and criminal charge issues

Many of our cases involve nurses whose licenses are at risk due to substance abuse, DUI, criminal arrests or convictions. Our experienced former government prosecutor knows how to skillfully handle these scenarios and work to protect you.

Some of the most common causes of Board disciplinary actions include:

  • DUI, alcohol or substance abuse

  • Gross negligence or incompetence

  • Violating the Nursing Practice Act

  • Standard of care violations

  • Deficient record keeping

  • Criminal offenses, arrests or convictions

The BRN offers a confidential, voluntary Intervention Program for nurses whose competency may be impaired by substance use disorder or mental illness. 

Don't let a mistake ruin your career.  Call us to learn your legal options.


Call 949 750-2500 for Help

Our experienced, discrete attorneys know how to protect your license, your reputation and your career. We represent Los Angeles and California nurses from our office in Newport Beach.


Licensing Consultation and Analysis

If you would like to book a 1 hour legal analysis and advice session on your licensing case, please visit the page below.


Board of Registered Nursing Disciplinary Process

Many nurses assume the Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) is on their side. Unfortunately this is not true. BRN's first priority is consumer protection. Complaints against nurses are vigorously pursued and penalties have become more severe. It is critical to consult a nurse license defense lawyer experienced in handling nursing board license defense to help avoid the many risks inherent in investigation and disciplinary proceedings.

The main methods by which BRN achieves it's consumer protection mandate are:

  1. Issuing registered nurse licenses to eligible applicants.

  2. Investigating complaints against registered nurses and disciplining licensees for violation of the Nursing Practice Act (NPA).

  3. Monitoring registered nurses whose licenses have been placed on probation.

  4. Managing a Diversion Program for registered nurses, whose practice may be impaired due to chemical dependency or mental illness.

The California Board of Vocational Nurses and Psychiatric Technicians (BVNPT) operates in a very similar manner as the BRN, but oversees the licensing, regulation, and discipline for vocational nurses.

The following infographic explains the complaint resolution process for California Board of Registered Nursing disciplinary actions:

Nursing Board Statistics Show Complaints are Rising

California Board of Registered Nursing statistics show complaints & nurse convictions has increased 23% from 7,389 in 2016 to 9,082 in 2017.

Some nursing profession statistics:

  • There are 426,193 active licensed registered nurses as of 3/18

  • There are 137,796 BVNPT licensed nurses in 2017

  • A BRN nurse probation study found the grounds for probation were:

    • 51% due to substance abuse or DUI

    • 28% due to practice error

    • 18% due to criminal misconduct

    • 3% practice error & drug/misconduct

  • The BRN Intervention Program had received 5,088 intakes as of 1/31/16:

    • 3,189 (62%) were for substance abuse only

    • 167 (3%) for mental illness

    • 1,650 (32%) for dual diagnosis

What types of complaints does BRN have jurisdiction over?

  • Gross negligence or incompetence, resulting in patient endangerment

  • Drug or alcohol abuse

  • Patient abuse and neglect

  • Practicing nursing without a license

  • Violent, sexual, or abusive offenses

  • Fraud or theft offenses

  • RNs on probation who have violated their probation conditions

  • Mentally impaired and unsafe to practice

  • Other acts or convictions substantially related to the practice of nursing

Which complaints are outside BRN's jurisdiction?

  • Impolite or rude behavior

  • Employer, employee relations

  • Labor issues

  • Disputes over billing

  • Interpersonal conflicts

  • Complaints against healthcare clinics, facilities or agency operations

  • Complaints against non-RN health care practitioners

Board of Registered Nursing Complaint Priorities

The California Department of Consumer Affairs, Division of Investigation (DOI) prioritizes complaints into the following four priority categories:

Category 1: Urgent, to be referred to DOI

  • Acts of serious patient/consumer harm, great bodily injury, or death

  • Mental or physical impairment of licensee with potential for public harm

  • Practicing while under the influence of drugs/alcohol

  • Repeated allegations of drug/alcohol abuse

  • Narcotic/prescription drug theft; drug diversion; other unlawful possession

  • Sexual misconduct with a patient

  • Physical/mental abuse of a patient

  • Over-prescribing

  • Gross negligence/incompetence resulting in serious harm/injury

  • Media/politically sensitive cases

Category 2: High, to be referred to DOI

  • Prescribing/dispensing without authority

  • Unlicensed practice/unlicensed activity

  • Aiding and abetting unlicensed activity

  • Criminal violations including but not limited to prescription forgery, selling or using fraudulent documents and/or transcripts, possession of narcotics, major financial fraud, financial elder abuse, insurance fraud, etc.

  • Exam subversion where exam is compromised

  • Mandatory peer review reporting (BP §805)

  • Law enforcement standby/security (subject to staff availability)

Category 3: Routine, to be referred to nursing board

  • General unprofessional conduct and/or general negligence/incompetence resulting in no injury or minor harm/injury (non-intentional act, non-life threatening)

  • Subsequent arrest notifications (no immediate public threat)

  • Exam subversion (individual cheating where exam is not compromised)

  • Medical malpractice reporting (BP §801) cases unless viewed as category 1 or 2

  • Serving subpoenas for hearings

  • and for records (non DOI investigations)

  • Patient abandonment

  • False/misleading advertising (not related to unlicensed or criminal activity)

  • Applicant misconduct

Category 4: Routine, to be referred to nursing board

  • Unsanitary conditions

  • Project abandonment

  • Failure to release medical records

  • Recordkeeping violations

  • Continuing education violations

  • Declaration and record collection (e.g., licensee statements, medical records, arrest and conviction records, employment records)

  • Complaints of offensive behavior

  • or language (e.g., poor bedside manner, rude, abrupt, etc.)

  • Quality-of-service complaints

  • Complaints against licensee on probation that do not meet category 1 or 2

  • Anonymous complaints unless Board can corroborate it meets category 1 or 2

  • Non-jurisdictional issues

Nurses and DUI Convictions

When a nurse is convicted for driving under the influence (DUI) or other crimes, the BRN will be notified. DUI convictions trigger disciplinary actions because they are considered a violation of the Nursing Practice Act on the following grounds:

  1. It constitutes unprofessional conduct.

  2. DUI involves the use of alcohol or drugs in a way that endangers the individual or others.

  3. DUI is a conviction for a "substantially related crime" that indicates actual or potential unfitness to perform the duties of a licensed nurse.

Chudnovsky Law's Orange County DUI lawyer knows how to successfully defend nurses charged with DUI. Even if you are convicted of DUI, it doesn't mean you have to lose your nursing license. The action can be resolved with other resolutions. A nursing license defense attorney can help achieve the best possible outcome.

Deficient Record Keeping

A nurse can be subject to disciplinary action for failing to keep proper records. Nurses are required to carefully maintain patient records including medication information, care plans, health evaluations, patient observations and information about a patient's health and care.

Deficient record keeping is a common issue referenced by the Board of Registered Nursing and Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians as evidence to question a nurse's competence during disciplinary proceedings.

Last updated 11.3.18



This information does not constitute legal advice and is not a substitute for individual case consultation and research. No representations are made as to the accuracy of this information and appropriate legal counsel should be consulted before taking any actions.  Contact us for a free consultation regarding your specific case and facts.


Call 949 750-2500 for Help

Our experienced, discrete attorneys know how to protect your license, your reputation and your career. We represent California nurses from our office in Orange County.


Licensing Consultation and Analysis

If you would like to book a 1 hour legal analysis and advice session on your licensing case, please visit the page below.


Chudnovsky Law
23 Corporate Plaza Drive, Suite 150
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(949) 750-2500
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