Texas licensing boards or agencies regulate the professionals who hold various professional licenses. These duties include receiving and processing complaints from customers, clients, or patients who allege that professionals have violated applicable laws or rules.
Professionals have due process rights throughout their disciplinary proceedings, including rights to administrative hearings. If they end up with a professional license suspension or revocation after administrative proceedings, they typically have the right to appeal that ruling through the state court system. The professional license suspension or revocation appeal attorneys at Bertolino, LLP can help in this situation.
The Impact of License Suspension or Revocation
When a licensing board finds that professionals have violated laws or rules that govern their professions, they can impose a wide range of sanctions through the disciplinary process. The more extreme forms of sanctions, which typically occur in more severe disciplinary cases, include the suspension and revocation of professional licenses.
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A professional license suspension or revocation typically prevents you from continuing to work in your profession. The one exception is receiving a fully probated suspension, which is a potential sanction in many professions. In that case, you can continue to work in your profession under certain conditions and restrictions as set by your licensing board.
A suspension, also known as an “enforced” or “active” suspension, prohibits you from working during the term of your suspension. In most cases, your suspension will be for a specific time, and the public will know about your suspension. At the end of your suspension, you may be able to resume working in your profession if the licensing board permits you to do so.
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A revocation is a complete loss of your license. Depending on the circumstances, you may or may not be able to return to your profession after the revocation of your license. In many cases, you may never be able to work in that profession again. The public also will know about your license revocation. Revocation of your license is typically the most severe sanction you can face in a professional license disciplinary proceeding.
Temporary Suspension Actions in Professional Disciplinary Proceedings
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Most licensing boards or agencies have the power to temporarily suspend a professional’s license when continued practice by the professional would pose a danger or threat to the health and safety of the public. Each board has different procedures for implementing a temporary suspension, but these suspensions can have the effect of immediately prohibiting you from working in your profession. In addition, this suspension can be highly detrimental since disciplinary proceedings may take months to resolve.
However, you do have the right to ask for a hearing before the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) to challenge the temporary suspension and the findings underlying the suspension. Additionally, many agencies provide you with a hearing before agency representatives, even if they initially implemented the temporary suspension without notice to you. Alternatively, an agency might offer a prompt informal settlement conference in hopes of resolving the matter more quickly, including addressing the temporary suspension.
Administrative Hearings in Professional Disciplinary Proceedings
You always have the right to appeal the final decisions of licensing boards. You may be more apt to appeal this type of decision when it has resulted in the suspension or revocation of your license. However, you cannot file an appeal until the decision is final, meaning that you must first exhaust your administrative remedies through the administrative hearing process.
Procedures among licensing agencies differ slightly, but they all follow the same basic guidelines. Typically, licensing boards or agencies investigate complaints and decide whether licensees violated their profession’s laws and rules. They also will propose a sanction for the violations.
If the licensees disagree with the findings or recommended sanctions, they can request an administrative hearing. In most cases, SOAH assigns an administrative law judge (ALJ) to handle these hearings. ALJs are neutral and impartial hearing officers who have no previous knowledge of the cases before them.
A disciplinary case proceeds according to SOAH procedural rules, much like a civil case would proceed through the court system. The ALJ schedules the case for a contested hearing at which both parties present evidence to support their cases. The procedures for reaching a final decision vary somewhat depending on the agency involved. In some cases, the ALJ will make findings of fact, conclusions of law, and a proposal for decision and submit it to the relevant licensing board for a final order. In other cases, the ALJ will issue the final order.
Appealing the Final Order
If you disagree with the final order, you have the right to appeal the order through the state court system. Although only a small fraction of licensees appeal their cases at this level, it is a possibility that some circumstances may warrant it.
Appeal the Suspension or Revocation of Your Professional License Today
If your professional licensing board or agency may suspend or revoke your license, you need assistance right away to defend your license. You need to protect your license from these potentially severe consequences at all costs. At Bertolino LLP, we offer experienced professional license defense services for individuals involved in various professions. Contact us today by calling (512) 476-5757 or reaching out to us online. We can examine your case and help you devise the legal strategy that is best designed to safeguard your professional license.