All occupations and professionals that require some license or certification through the state of Texas are subject to licensing board rules and laws that govern them. Any violations of those rules or laws can lead to investigations and disciplinary action against your license by the relevant licensing board or agency. These allegations have the potential to ruin your career and your livelihood.
If you are facing a disciplinary complaint, you should not directly communicate with your licensing board about your case for various reasons. Direct communications between you and the board without the benefit of an attorney can be highly damaging to your case and have devastating consequences.
You May Inadvertently Admit Guilt or Provide Evidence Against You
Human nature often prompts individuals to explain their side of the story when accused of wrongdoing. Being honest and upfront is often the best policy for resolving disputes. Unfortunately, that is rarely the case when it comes to investigative matters and disciplinary proceedings.
First, in your efforts to be honest with your licensing board about the complaint, you risk inadvertently admitting to the violation of the law or rule as accused. Furthermore, you may admit to additional violations of which the board was previously unaware or divulge damaging evidence in the form of documents or witnesses. Finally, by attempting to explain your situation, you may make your situation worse and face additional discipline for your actions or make it easier for the board to prove its case against you.
With an experienced lawyer, you can also avoid making statements to the licensing board that it might view as inconsistent, dishonest, evasive, or non-responsive. Allowing your lawyer to control the communications between you and the licensing boards lets you set the tone of the narrative, which can benefit your case.
The Investigator Works for the Licensing Board, Not for You
If you decide to speak to the licensing board investigator handling your case on your own, you may do more damage than good. Remember, the purpose of the investigation is to determine if you committed any wrongdoing. The investigator is not focused on clearing your name, even if they tell you that is the goal.
The licensing board staff attorneys and its investigators are not neutral parties or unbiased investigators. They may seem helpful, but they can and will prosecute you for violating laws or rules through the disciplinary process. Investigators may even purposely mislead you during the investigative process to get you to admit wrongdoing. Their role is not to advocate for you, take your side, or see things in a light favorable to you. Instead, their job is solely to find evidence against you.
Only an attorney will stand up for your interests and work to absolve you of any wrongdoing. A license defense lawyer can answer your questions about the investigative process and provide information to the licensing board as needed in response to the complaint against you. The only source of information that you can rely on is your attorney, who will be by your side to help guide you through the investigative and disciplinary proceedings.
Staying Objective and Unemotional is Difficult When Your Career is at Stake
When you receive a disciplinary complaint, you may feel various emotions, ranging from disbelief and anger to hurt and fear. Objectively looking at your situation can be difficult, even in the best circumstances. As a result, the likelihood that you can remain completely calm and rational while personally speaking with licensing board staff is low.
Stress, anger, and fear can lead you to say things you otherwise might not. But unfortunately, those statements will not likely help your disciplinary investigation or subsequent proceedings. Therefore, allowing your lawyer, who can remain neutral, to communicate with the licensing agency is likely in your best interests.
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Presenting Strong Evidence and Arguments is the Best Strategy in Your Case
While you might think a simple explanation is sufficient to clear up the misunderstanding that led to the complaint against you, that is rarely the case. Once the licensing board has initiated an investigation, it is likely to dismiss the complaint only if you can present compelling evidence and arguments in your favor to show why the complaint has no merit.
Collecting pertinent evidence and presenting objective and rational arguments is challenging. Furthermore, understanding the intricacies of the law may not be as straightforward as you think. While you may be a highly educated professional, you are not a lawyer or familiar with handling disciplinary cases. Therefore, you may not have the knowledge and skills necessary to understand the law as it applies to your case, what evidence you need to prove it, and how best to present it. Allowing your attorney to present evidence on your behalf puts you in the best position to successfully defend yourself and your license.
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Count on Bertolino LLP to Defend Your License Throughout Your Disciplinary Proceedings
Facing an investigation and potential disciplinary proceedings before your licensing board can be a difficult and stressful experience. A single complaint can threaten your ability to support yourself and continue working in your chosen field. We can help you resolve your disciplinary investigation in the most positive manner possible. Contact an experienced Texas license defense lawyer today by calling the offices of Bertolino LLP at (512) 515-9518 or visiting us online.