The majority of complaints filed against licensed professionals are resolved prior to a contested hearing.
Contested hearings, or formal hearings, are held at the Texas State Office of Administrative Hearing (SOAH), which is an independent forum where Texas agencies, licensing boards, other governmental entities, and private citizens can resolve certain legal disputes. Cases are heard before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), a neutral third party appointed to oversee the hearing.
Not all cases require a contested hearing. Complaints can be resolved early on by demonstrating to the board, in your initial responses or other correspondence, that you did nothing wrong. If an investigation continues past the initial stages, most boards have procedures in place that provide for informal settlement conferences. This gives the board and licensee the opportunity to come to a settlement agreement about what penalties or sanctions are acceptable to both parties.
Settlement is not right in all cases, but when it is a viable option it helps to avoid the risk of facing harsher sanctions or larger penalties after a contested, formal hearing.
Contested Hearings Before SOAH
Cases that do not, or cannot settle, require adjudication before SOAH. Contested hearings are conducted similarly to how a courtroom trial operates. The licensee and the board will have the opportunity to produce evidence and question witnesses.
You have the right to have an attorney during all stages of the licensing board’s complaint investigation process and at all legal proceedings, including at the SOAH hearing. Your professional license defense attorney can help you prepare for the contested hearing.
Typically, soon after the conclusion of the contested hearing the ALJ will write a recommendation for how the case should be resolved, which may include a recommendation to the licensing board to take certain disciplinary action against the licensee. While licensing boards give deference to the ALJ’s case recommendation, generally it is the board that will ultimately decide your case and any sanctions against you. However, each licensing board and regulatory agency in Texas has their own set of rules and procedures to which they must adhere.
Hire the Experienced Processional License Defense Attorneys of BERTOLINO LLP
If you have been notified of a complaint filed against you with a licensing board, agency, or commission in Texas, BERTOLINO LLP can help. We are experienced license defense attorneys and we know how to navigate the complaint process against any professional, medical, or vocational license. We are prepared to represent you at any legal hearing or proceeding regarding your license, including SOAH proceedings.
With years of combined license defense experience and knowledge, our attorneys thoroughly understand state and federal laws and how they apply to each case. We use this information to custom design the best possible defense for each client we represent. Our tailor-made approach means we will not treat you like a number. Your case matters here.
BERTOLINO LLP represents licensed professionals across the entire State of Texas. If you are facing disciplinary action from a professional licensing board, contact us today or call (512) 887-7305 and schedule a case evaluation.