As a licensed practical nurse, you will care for patients who are injured, ill, disabled or elderly, under the supervision of a registered nurse or medical doctor. Because of the critical nature of this position, employers will expect you to be able to work in a responsible manner. A DUI conviction can affect your ability to get a position as an LPN or even complete an LPN program. Consider speaking to your attorney about any legal options for handling your record before you begin the process of becoming an LPN.
You will have to submit to a background check at various points during the process of becoming an LPN. Many schools require it because the employers who provide students with opportunities for clinical practice do. Your state's nursing board will run a check, too, when you apply for a license. You can expect employers to examine your background also when you apply for jobs. They must ensure that their nurses are responsible and capable of performing the job effectively.
Effect of the Conviction
Your DUI record might not automatically disqualify you for admission into a program, getting a license or obtaining a job, depending on the severity and the surrounding factors. You have a better chance of qualifying with a misdemeanor charge. A felony conviction is an automatic disqualification in most cases. School administrators, nursing boards and employers evaluate convictions on a case by case basis. They will consider the severity of the conviction, the date of the incident, and whether you've been involved in any unlawful activities since then.
Expunging Your Record
You might be able to expunge or seal your DUI records. Your eligibility will depend on the laws in your state, the severity of your conviction and whether you have completed the requirements, such as probation. Some states automatically seal misdemeanor convictions after a few years if it was your first offense. Once the record is sealed, it is not available to the public and will not appear in a background search. You can answer "no" to questions about a DUI conviction on your applications. Your attorney can tell you whether you can have your record sealed or expunged.
Points to Consider
You can find out whether your conviction would disqualify you from becoming a licensed LPN before you spend time and money on a program. Consider contacting your state's board of nursing to discuss the issue. You can also talk to an admissions counselor at the school you wish to attend. You should have the complete details of your DUI conviction when you call so you can receive accurate information.
- Northern Virginia Community College: LPN Admission: Criminal Background Check and Urine Drug Screen Test
- North Seattle Community College: Admissions for NSCC LPN and RN Programs: What Would be Considered Exclusionary on the Background Check?
- NOLO: Expunging or Sealing an Adult Criminal Record
- The Virginia Department of Health Professions and the Virginia Department of Health: Impact of Criminal Convictions on Nursing Licensure or Certification and Employment in Virginia: Basis for Denial of Licensure or Certification