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Will a misdemeanor prevent me from becoming an LPN?


Dear Donna,

I am thinking of enrolling in an LPN program. I am 41 years old, and after 10 years working in a profession that is going nowhere, I would like to pursue a fulfilling career. My only concern is whether a past misdemeanor charge would sink my dream. I was 18 years old when the incident occurred. I recently went to court to get it expunged. I was charged with false identification and petty theft. Any information you give will be appreciated.

Thank you,

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Concerned,

Things are a little different in each state, so you should check with a prospective LPN school in your area regarding admission criteria and also with your state board of nursing ( regarding background checks/criminal history for eligibility of LPN license. Just for your information, the record can be expunged only from government locales. If it has already been recorded elsewhere or online, it will not be “wiped away” through expungement. Even if it stays on the record, you may be able to complete your education and qualify for the licensure exam anyway.

Regarding future employment as a nurse, employers vary on their requirements and whether or not they do a criminal background check, although it is much more common today. Depending on the nature of the misdemeanor and how long ago it was, it may come up, especially if you apply for a patient care position. In that case, you should be prepared with a light and brief explanation to assure the prospective employer that it was a long time ago, you were young and made a mistake and you have completely turned your life around, etc. You can even say that you see getting into nursing as a great way to make a positive, meaningful contribution to society.

You may find the following Brent’s Law response helpful – Even though the question/circumstance is very different from yours, the answer is relevant to your situation.

You may want to consult a nurse attorney to fully explore your options and rights. Find one through a referral from The American Association of Nurse Attorneys ( or your state chapter of the American Nurses Association ( If your state has a chapter of the National Federation of LPNs, they also may be able to help with finding a nurse attorney in your area.

Best wishes,

By | 2012-01-04T00:00:00-05:00 January 4th, 2012|Categories: Blogs, Nursing careers and jobs|2 Comments

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  1. Avatar
    Nakia August 31, 2016 at 7:51 pm - Reply

    Dear Donna Hi I’m Nakia I caught and embezzlement charge in 09 I was convicted in 10. I have my pca certificate I just want to further my career. I can work as a PCA with the charge it’s not a barrier crime to them just wanted to know we it a barrier crime for LPN.

  2. Avatar
    Ashley May 30, 2017 at 4:40 am - Reply

    Hello I live in the state of Texas and I wanted to know I have at least 10 arrest for no driver license and insurance I was only arrested because I was given a ticket and was unable to make it to court. I also received a ticket for assault by threat I was arrested because I was unable to pay the ticket due to a financial situation. I also received deferred probation for a minor drug charge. Which I was with the wrong crowd.I completed the probation a year ago. I do not have any felonies. I was wondering will I be able to become an LVN.

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