Collateral consequences are those consequences of a criminal conviction that are not related to the actual sentence. Collateral consequences are the difficulties that a person has as a result of the criminal charge or conviction. For individuals in certain professions, such as nursing, there are some rather steep collateral consequences that could affect the profession.
Under Minnesota Statute 245C, background checks that are performed by the Department of health and Human Services could prevent an individual from being able to work as a registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, home health aide, or even being the guardian of an elderly patient.
Just the filing of certain criminal charges, especially gross misdemeanors and felonies, can result in an administrative process that could lead to administrative disqualification from practicing in the field.
In some cases, a person may ignore the administrative notice that is sent by the Department of Health and Human Services after they have been charged with a serious crime. All the agency has to establish is that the defendant committed the crime based on a “preponderance of the evidence.” Even an acquittal does not affect the decision that the agency has made. When a person hires aSt. Paul criminal defense attorney, their attorney will advise them of the possible notification from DHS so that appropriate steps are taken to protect the client in both criminal court and at the administrative level.
An offense, such as reckless driving may not result in any action, but criminal sexual conduct, DWI, assault, domestic assault, financial crimes, and drug abuse are all examples of crimes that can result in a criminal charge that can result in the ultimate collateral offense of not being able to practice as a nurse.
Under Minnesota Statute 245C.15, subdivision 1, a disqualifying crime includes all degrees lf murder, first and second-degree manslaughter, all forms of domestic assault, kidnapping, aggravated robbery, murder of an unborn child in all degrees, prostitution, all degrees and types of criminal sexual conduct, neglect or endangerment of a child, felony-level stalking, shooting at or inside a public transit facility or vehicle, indecent exposure involving a minor, and child pornography. Also considered a disqualifying offense is the aiding and abetting of someone who committed any of these crimes. The offense doesn’t have to occur in just Minnesota either.
When disqualification is based on a judge’s determination before any conviction could take place, the disqualification period begins from the date the court order is issued.
Subdivision 2 states that a person can be disqualified from practicing in the nursing profession permanently. They can also be disqualified if less than 15 years have passed since the sentence was discharged, if there was a sentence, in many of the crimes mentioned above (excluding murder and sex offenses), including specific white collar crimes.
The ten-year disqualification pertains primarily to misdemeanors, gross misdemeanors, and very few felonies. The crimes are minor compared to those resulting in permanent disqualification or 15 years of disqualification.
The seven-year disqualification, like the ten-year disqualification, pertains to certain misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor crimes, such as fourth-degree assault and receiving stolen property, but a person charged with first-degree assault may be subject to this disqualification depending on other circumstances surrounding the matter.
It is important to have the proper legal representation in place to fight the charges and the collateral consequences that could result in order to preserve one’s career.