California Nursing License Defense Attorney

If your career is on the line due to a board investigation, accusation, nurse DUI or criminal charge, be very careful. Licensing actions risk your license and future.

Protect yourself and get a California nursing license defense attorney as early as possible that is skilled at handling nurse licensing boards and resolving your case.

Nurse license investigations usually begin when you receive a board letter that:

  1. Requests employment records release authorization,

  2. Provides notice of an investigation or formal accusation, or

  3. Offers for you to voluntarily enter the Board’s Intervention Program.

If you’ve been contacted by the California Board of Registered Nursing or DCA investigators, we can immediately help. Often our RN nurse defense attorney can help present a response that results in a matter being closed with no disciplinary action.

Ex-Prosecutor skilled in license defense, DUI and criminal defense

Our former Government Prosecutor has successfully handled 1,000's of nurse licensing, nurse DUI, criminal defense and Federal criminal defense cases.

We know how medical and nurse licensing boards operate, how to handle disciplinary investigations and the full process of statement of issues and administrative hearings. We are uniquely qualified in the complex intersection of licensing and criminal/DUI law.

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

We understand the stress you’re feeling and our nurse defense lawyer is 100% focused on protecting you and your license. We do not judge, we are only here to help.

If you would like the best outcome possible, give us a call. You can count on our proven nurse license lawyer to skillfully defend you, your license and your career.

▸ Call 949.750.2500

Get Expert Help and Advice.
We represent nurses throughout California from our Orange County office.

Nurse License Defense Attorney California

When a nurse is contacted by an investigator or lawyer for their licensing board, it is critical to consult an experienced nursing licensure defense lawyer before responding. 

If you are facing an investigation or action by the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) or Board of Vocational Nurses and Psychiatric Technicians (BVNPT), give us a call.

Nursing license defense in Orange County

We have a wealth of experience representing every type of licensed nurse, doctor, dentist and chiropractor with their varying licensing, investigation and disciplinary actions and procedures.

You can depend on our nurse lawyer 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 professional license defense attorneys know how to skillfully handle these scenarios and fight to protect you.

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

  • Nursing home abuse

  • 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.

DUI and Nursing License

When a nurse is convicted for driving under the influence (DUI) or other crimes, the BRN may be notified. DUI affects your nursing license by triggering disciplinary actions. An RN DUI is 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.

Nursing License DUI Lawyer

Chudnovsky Law has proven expertise in fighting DUI charges while balancing plea and other DUI nursing license considerations key to protecting your license.

Our California DUI attorney has handled thousands of DUI alcohol and drug cases and developed an array of innovative defense strategies (see How to Beat a DUI).

You can be a nurse with a DUI conviction – it doesn't mean you have to lose your nursing license. The action can be resolved with other resolutions. Our nurse license DUI lawyer will help achieve the best possible outcome.

Types of Nurses We Represent

Chudnovsky Law represents every kind of California nurse and licensed healthcare professional including:

  • Registered Nurses (RN)

  • Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVN)

  • Licensed Practicing Nurses (LPN)

  • Nurse Practitioners (NP)

  • Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS)

  • Advanced Practice Nurses (APRN)

  • Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM)

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


Top Nurse Defense

Call 949 750-2500 for Help

Our experienced, discrete attorneys know how to protect your license, your freedom 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 Complaint Statistics

California Board of Registered Nursing statistics show 9,067 nurse complaints and conviction/arrest notices in Fiscal Year 2019.

Nursing profession statistics:

  • There are 451,934 active licensed registered nurses as of 2019 (1)

  • There are 135,528 BVNPT licensed nurses in 2019

  • 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 and 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

  • Alcohol or drug abuse

  • Patient abuse and neglect

  • Practicing nursing without a license

  • Violent, abusive or sexual 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

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.



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 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.


23 Corporate Plaza Drive, Suite 150
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(949) 750-2500
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Service Area:

We represent licensed nurses throughout California from our Orange County office, including:

Los Angeles County: Alhambra, Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Buena Park, Burbank, Culver City, El Segundo, Encino, Glendale, Hollywood, Huntington Park, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Malibu, Manhattan Beach, Pasadena, Pomona, San Fernando, Santa Clarita, Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, Torrance, Van Nuys, Venice, West Hollywood and Woodland Hills.

·  ·  ·

Orange County: Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Brea, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Cypress, Dana Point, Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, La Palma, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Los Alamitos, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Orange, Placentia, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, Stanton, Tustin, Villa Park, Westminster and Yorba Linda.

·  ·  ·

Riverside County: Riverside, Moreno Valley, Corona, Temecula, Murrieta, Jurupa Valley, Indio, Hemet, Perris, Palm Desert and Palm Springs. | San Bernardino County: San Bernardino, Fontana, Rancho Cucamonga, Ontario, Victorville, Rialto, Hesperia, Chino, Upland, Apple Valley and Redlands. | San Diego County: San Diego, Chula Vista, Oceanside, Escondido, Carlsbad, El Cajon, Vista, San Marcos, Encinitas and National City.

Written by Robert Weinberg, JD and Tsion Chudnovsky, JD.

Last updated 10.22.19