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The Impact Of Drug Crime Convictions On Colorado Nurses License Certification Nurses and Colorado Convictions – What I tell persons who call me about the “law” is – read it yourself. Understanding the law that governs your situation is often a matter of reading the statute for yourself and studying how the law impacts your situation.
This is especially true for professionals whose very right to practice their profession depends on the law – the rules and regulations that govern that profession. Whether it be lawyers, doctors, teachers, nurses, or accountants, – reading the law empowers you to have more control over your destiny and the ability to try to end the fear that is the result of blindly trusting others to interpret the law for you.
Since laws change – you should become acquainted with a free online tool to research Colorado laws call the Colorado Statute Manager – here is a link http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/michie/
In it’s policy statement, the Colorado State Board of Nursing ( the “Board”) mandates that the continued practice by nurses who pose a risk of harm to persons under their must be reported to the Board
Many issues must be reported to the Board – however this article addresses mostly criminal charges as a threat to your nurses license.
Information that must be reported includes such things such as a reasonable cause to believe a nurse:
“is unable to practice with reasonable skill and safety to patients as the result of a physical or mental disability or substance abuse.” or whose
“Conduct which poses a risk to the health and safety of the public, chemical dependency or drug diversion,” or
Information that is critical to the determination of mental disability, substance abuse chemical dependency or drug diversion,
Or whether the nurse has been:
Convicted of a felony.
Whose conduct includes, but is not limited to, felonies, fraud, theft, or assaults, including sexual assaults. (Such conduct need not have resulted in a conviction.)
Who shows signs or symptoms of excessive use or abuse of alcohol, habit-forming drugs, or controlled substances, as defined in C.R.S. 18-18-102(5) or other drugs having similar effect that negatively impact the nurse’s practice.
Or whose actions, behavior, or information that suggest or substantiates the licensee’s or certificate holder’s diversion of controlled substances as defined in C.R.S. 18-18-102(5) or other drugs having similar effects.
Many of the “criminal” issues surrounding the practicing nurse arise at the job site – but many do not.
Private or “off-duty” Conduct can also impact the nurse’s licensure status. The Board’s mandate is to protect the public, and therefore “off-duty” conduct may become relevant to nursing practice. A DUI (driving under the influence) charge, the use of recreational or illegal drugs, accusations of child or elder abuse, the violation of Colorado civil restraining orders, writing bad checks, conduct that reflects dishonesty or questionable judgment are ALL relevant to public safety.
The Colorado Nurse’s License application and renewal forms require the disclosure of all criminal cases.
Here is an excerpt from the state application:
“During the licensing process – and depending on the specific application – the Board may ask whether you have ever been disciplined in any state, arrested, charged, convicted, or pled guilty to a crime.
An arrest, subsequent criminal conviction, or disciplinary action is not an automatic disqualification from licensure. Rather, the appropriate board or program will look at the facts surrounding the criminal conduct and disciplinary action in addressing your license application.
You should know that licensure is a privilege, not a right. One thing you must do to obtain the privilege is to be complete and accurate in disclosing information on your application.
Be sure to list all relevant complaints, disciplinary actions, arrests, charges, or convictions in response to the appropriate licensure questions. Failure to fully and accurately disclose requested criminal history information, alone, could constitute grounds for denial of your application or revocation of your license. When requested, you must include information regarding prior conduct. This remains the case when the conduct is seemingly unrelated to the activities of a profession, and when the conduct involves deferred sentences or judgments. [HMS – note that deferred judgments are included]
Remember, even following licensure, you are still required to notify your professional licensing board or program about subsequent convictions and disciplinary actions in other states. Please be aware that the Division conducts audits of its licensing database against several criminal and national disciplinary databases. This allows the Division to verify the truthfulness of your application and track subsequent criminal and disciplinary conduct after initial licensure. Keep in mind, your license will not necessarily be revoked, or your application denied, if you have been disciplined, arrested, charged or convicted. But, you will most likely be denied or revoked if you fail to disclose requested information.”
Here are the kinds of questions that are asked….
4. Have you ever been convicted, entered a plea of guilty, nolo contendere, or no contest for any felony, misdemeanor or petty offense?
5. Have you ever been convicted, pled no contest/nolo contendere, or had a court accept a plea to a criminal motor vehicle offense of DUI/DWI/DWAI/OWI or any traffic offense involving drugs or alcohol?
8. Do you now abuse or excessively use, or have you in the last five years abused or excessively used, any habit forming drug, including alcohol, or any controlled substance that has a) resulted in any accusation or discipline for misconduct, unreliability, neglect of work, or failure to meet professional responsibilities; or b) affected your ability to practice as a professional nurse safely and competently?
10. Have you been arrested for an alcohol or drug-related offense other than stated in question No. 5?
Finally – you are admonished that your answers to these questions are given under penalty of perjury.
I state under penalty of perjury in the second degree, as defined in C.R.S. 18-8-503, that the information contained in this application is true and correct to the best of my knowledge. In accordance with C.R.S. 18-8-501(2)(a)(I), false statements made herein are punishable by law and may constitute violation of the practice act.
A Colorado criminal defense lawyer works in the area of criminal law. The prosecution of nurses by DORA – Colorado State Board of Nursing – is a specialty handled by lawyers who focus in that area – sometimes called Nurse Medical Licensing Defense Lawyers.
In defending your nurse’s license – if you are convicted of a crime that is “substantially related” to the qualifications, functions, and duties of a registered nurse in a way that implicates public health and safety concerns you my be facing the loss of your license
As noted above – examples include:
Many criminal cases are not related to nursing but may still be grounds for discipline. This kind of arrest can be for any petty, misdemeanor or felony offense and can include DUIs, shoplifting charges, sexual charges or assault and battery. While not directly related to nursing job, the Board may consider this kind of criminal activity to be “unprofessional conduct.”
The decision to disclose is a decision that should be made after a consultation with an “administrative” lawyer – a Nurse License Lawyer. That lawyer will probably tell you that the Board looks favorably upon nurses who are forthcoming about their actions and cooperate with the disciplinary process. Unlike the Colorado criminal justice system – decisions to cooperate or not cooperate should be made with the advice and representation of the nursing license lawyer.
Nursing plays a critical part of our medical care giver society. Therefore drug-related transgressions, which includes drugs OR alcoholic beverages in a way dangerous or injurious to oneself or others comes under the jurisdiction of the Nursing board. The Board has the power to discipline for issues relating to controlled substances and substance abuse which includes the power to discipline members convicted of ANY criminal offense involving any controlled substance including improper possession, use, or distribution of a controlled substance.
Deferred Judgments and diversion cases are considered convictions by the Board even though in the criminal courts they are not convictions. Be sure to tell the Board about them.
The Board asks about any ARRESTS, so even though there were no action taken by the criminal court, you still need to tell the Board.
The most important power of the Board is found in the following EXCERPTED provisions from the Colorado Statutes:
Since laws change – you should become acquainted with a free online tool to research Colorado laws call the Colorado Statute Manager – here is a link http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/michie/
(1) (a) The board is empowered to determine summarily whether an applicant for a license or a temporary license to practice as a nurse possesses the qualifications required by this article, whether there is probable cause to believe that an applicant has done any of the acts set forth in section 12-38-117 as grounds for discipline, or whether the applicant has had a license to practice nursing or any other health care occupation revoked by any legally authorized board.
Here are the relevant sections of the law governing the loss of a nurse’s license for a criminal conviction as of this writing (2014):
(1) The board has the following powers and duties:
(b.5) To revoke, suspend, withhold, limit the scope of, or refuse to renew any license, to place a licensee or temporary licensee on probation, to impose an administrative fine on a licensee, or to issue a letter of admonition to a licensee in accordance with the procedures set forth in section 12-38-116.5 upon proof that such licensee has committed an act that constitutes grounds for discipline under section 12-38-117 or 12-42-113 ;
(h) To investigate and conduct hearings upon charges for the discipline of nurses in accordance with the provisions of article 4 of title 24, C.R.S., and to impose disciplinary sanctions as provided in this article;
(i) To cause the prosecution and enjoinder of any person violating the provisions of this article and incur necessary expenses therefor;
(j) To adopt rules and regulations necessary to carry out the purposes of this article, such rules and regulations to be promulgated in accordance with the provisions of article 4 of title 24, C.R.S.
(VI) To conduct hearings pursuant to section 12-42-114;
(VII) To cause the prosecution and enjoinder of any person violating the provisions of article 42 of this title and incur necessary expenses therefor;
(B) To conduct criminal history record checks on any individual under the jurisdiction of the board, against whom a complaint has been filed.
(II) For purposes of this paragraph (l), “criminal history record check” means a written review of an individual’s criminal conviction history.
(1) “Grounds for discipline”, as used in this article, means any action by any person who:
(a) Has procured or attempted to procure a license by fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, misleading omission, or material misstatement of fact;
(b) (I) Has been convicted of a felony or any crime that would constitute a violation of this article.
(II) (A) For purposes of this paragraph (b), “conviction” includes the entry of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere or the imposition of a deferred sentence.
(B) A certified copy of the judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction of such conviction or plea shall be prima facie evidence of such conviction.
(i) Excessively uses or abuses alcohol, habit-forming drugs, controlled substances, as defined in section 18-18-102(5), C.R.S., or other drugs having similar effects, or is diverting controlled substances, as defined in section 18-18-102(5), C.R.S., or other drugs having similar effects from the licensee’s place of employment; except that the board has the discretion not to discipline the licensee if such licensee is participating in good faith in a program approved by the board designed to end such excessive use or abuse;
(l) Has engaged in any conduct which would constitute a crime as defined in title 18, C.R.S., and which conduct relates to such person’s employment as a practical or professional nurse.
In conjunction with any disciplinary proceeding pertaining to this paragraph (l), the board shall be governed by the provisions of section 24-5- 101, C.R.S.
(u) Willfully fails to respond in a materially factual and timely manner to a complaint issued pursuant to section 12-38-116.5(3);
(1) Has failed to report to the board, within forty-five days after a final conviction, that the person has been convicted of a crime, as defined in title 18, C.R.S.;
A relatively new law (2010) requires transparency and disclosure to the public of criminal convictions by medical professionals. The law is the “Michael Skolnik Medical Transparency Act of 2010”.
The purpose of the act is stated in these provisions:
(2) (a) The general assembly hereby finds and determines that:
(I) The people of Colorado need to be fully informed about the past practices of persons practicing a health care profession in this state in order to make informed decisions when choosing a health care provider and determining whether to proceed with a particular regimen of care recommended by a health care provider;
(II) The purpose of this section is to provide transparency to the public regarding the competency of persons engaged in the practice of certain health care professions in this state to assist citizens in making informed health care decisions.
(b) The general assembly further finds and declares that it is important to make information about persons engaged in the practice of a health care profession available to the public in a manner that is efficient, cost-effective, and maintains the integrity of the information, and to that end, the general assembly encourages persons to file the required information with the division of registrations electronically, to the extent possible.
(g) Any final criminal conviction or plea arrangement resulting from the commission or alleged commission of a felony or crime of moral turpitude in any jurisdiction at any time after the person has been issued a license, certification, or registration to practice his or her health care profession in any state or country. The applicant shall provide a copy of the final conviction or plea arrangement to the director at the time the application is made.
The Michael Skolnik Medical Transparency Act – which is authorized under the Division of Professions and Occupations – creates a method for the public to use the internet to access to information on healthcare professionals actively licensed in the state of Colorado.
Basically, Any Felony; Crime of Moral Turpitude; Crimes Involving Fraud, Dishonesty, Misrepresentation or Money-laundering
C.R.S. 12-38.1-111 – Any Felony; Any Misdemeanor; Crimes Involving Fraud, Dishonesty, Misrepresentation or Money-laundering;
C.R.S. 24-34-110 – Any Felony; Crime of Moral Turpitude; Crimes Involving Fraud, Dishonesty, Misrepresentation or Money-laundering.
Colorado Law – C.R.S. 12-38-117(1)(b) – provides that any conviction of any felony or any crime that would constitute a violation of article 38 of title 12, C.R.S., is grounds for discipline. Includes entry of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere or the imposition of a deferred sentence.
Colorado Law – C.R.S. 12-38-117(1)(l) – provides that engaging in any conduct that would constitute a crime as defined by title 18, C.R.S. (The Colorado Criminal Code), which conduct relates to a person’s employment as a practical or professional nurse, is grounds for discipline. Subject to the provisions of section 24-5-101.
Colorado Regulation – 3 CCR 716-1:16-1 – Requires nurses to self-report charged crimes.
Colorado Law – C.R.S. 24-34-110 – Requires that any final criminal conviction or plea arrangement resulting from the commission or alleged commission of a felony or crime of moral turpitude in any jurisdiction at any time after the person has been issued a license, certification, or registration to practice his or her health care profession in any state or county. This information provided is made available to the general public.
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H. Michael Steinberg has over 30 years of experience in the Colorado Criminal Law area of .. .in Denver, Arapahoe, Douglas, and All Counties along the Front Range of Colorado.
Never stop fighting – never stop believing in yourself and your right to due process of law.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR; H. Michael Steinberg – Email The Author at email@example.com – A Denver Colorado Drug Crimes Criminal Defense Lawyer – or call his office at 303-627-7777 during business hours – or call his cell if you cannot wait and need his immediate assistance – 720-220-2277. Attorney H. Michael Steinberg is passionate about criminal defense. His extensive knowledge and experience of Colorado Criminal Law gives him the edge you need to properly handle your case.
Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. If you are seeking counsel there maybe other more specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics. For that, please contact the author.
If you are charged with A Colorado crime or you have questions about the topic of this article – The Impact Of Drug Crime Convictions On Colorado Nurses License Certification 24-34-110 – 12-38-108, please call our office. The Law Offices of H. Michael Steinberg, in Denver, Colorado, provide criminal defense clients with effective, efficient, intelligent and strong legal advocacy. We can educate you and help you navigate the stressful and complex legal process related to your criminal defense issue.
H. Michael Steinberg, is a Denver, Colorado criminal defense lawyer with over 30 years of day to day courtroom experience – specializing in Colorado Criminal Law along the Front Range. He will provide you with a free initial case consultation to evaluate your legal issues and to answer your questions with an honest assessment of your options. Remember, it costs NOTHING to discuss your case. Call now for an immediate free phone consultation.
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