If you are a practicing pharmacist or nurse in Oregon, you have already applied for a license and will periodically apply to renew your license with the Oregon Board of Pharmacy or Oregon State Board of Nursing. License applications, including license renewal applications, often ask a question similar to this question:
“In the last 3 years, have you been arrested for, charged with or cited for any crime, offense or violation of the law in any state or US jurisdiction or foreign authority?”
It is surprising how often pharmacists and nurses answer this type of question wrong.
Two common mistakes made by pharmacists and nurses
Most often, when pharmacists or nurses answer this question wrong they do so for one of two reasons, (a) because the charge or citation “for any crime, offense or violation” was dismissed, or (b) because the record was later expunged. These are good outcomes, and you are to me commended. Unfortunately, pharmacists and nurses sometimes conclude that because a charge was dismissed, the arrest was wrong, and therefore the arrest doesn’t “count.” Or, pharmacists and nurses sometimes conclude that because the conviction was later expunged, there is no record of the arrest, so arrest doesn’t count. Don’t make these mistakes.
But were you arrested?
It is necessary to read each license application or license renewal application carefully, and to answer each question accurately. The question quoted above asks, “have you been arrested . . . .” Although the charge may have been dismissed, or the conviction and underlying record may have been expunged, you were still arrested, and that fact will not change, but can most often be satisfactorily explained.
When in doubt, consult a medical licensing attorney
If you have questions about how to answer a question on your license application or license renewal application, or you doubt that your negative legal history can be satisfactorily explained to your licensing Board, you are encouraged to consult an attorney having experience working with the Oregon Board of Pharmacy or the Oregon State Board of Nursing.