Impact of Criminal Arrest on Nurse License Application

In Georgia, the Board of Nursing can refuse to grant a license to an applicant, revoke the license of a licensed nurse, and discipline a licensed nurse upon a finding by the Board that that the applicant or licensee has been convicted of a felony or any crime involving moral turpitude.  

The Board regulations do not define “moral turpitude.”  However, Georgia courts have defined “moral turpitude” in a variety of contexts, including as “misdemeanors involving dishonesty or the obstruction of justice” and “everything done contrary to justice, honesty, … or good morals.”  It is very likely that the Board will view shoplifting as a crime of moral turpitude.  Therefore, if a nurse is convicted of a shoplifting offense (both felony or misdemeanor), the Board can refuse to grant the nurse’s license when they apply for it after graduation.  Importantly, entering a plea of nolo contendere to the charge can still cause your license application to be refused.

The Board will likely consider various factors when deciding whether to grant the license, including but not limited to, the honesty displayed in the nursing application, the recentness of the event, the severity of the incident, and the occurrence of any violence.  All questions posed on the license application should be answered honestly and in close coordination with a criminal attorney and professional license defense attorney. Professional license concerns should also be discussed with the criminal attorney.