Probated Suspensions of Your Professional License What You Need to Know

The sanctions for violating the rules and laws that govern your professional license can be severe. A simple misstep or oversight can lead to disciplinary proceedings threatening your license and livelihood. Therefore, consulting a professional license defense lawyer to defend your license is critical to successfully fighting against misconduct allegations. 

One potential sanction in professional disciplinary proceedings is license suspension. During a license suspension, which the TMB typically defines for a specific period, you cannot engage in the work permitted by your license. Some professions’ rules allow license suspensions to be probated or stayed under some circumstances. As a result, you can continue practicing your profession despite a potential license suspension as long as you comply with certain conditions. The availability of a probated license suspension and the conditions with which you must comply to maintain a probated license suspension differ according to your profession. 

The Texas Medical Board

The Texas Medical Board (TMB) regulates physicians and other medical professionals, such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners. Tex. Occ. Code  Sec. 164.001 authorizes the TMB to suspend a professional license and place a person whose license is suspended on probation. Nonetheless, the TMB may not probate the suspension of some individuals whose licenses have been suspended because of felony convictions for certain crimes.

If the TMB places a person whose license is suspended on probation, Tex. Occ. Code Sec. 164.101 allows the TMB to require that person to do the following things while on probation:

  • report regularly to the board on matters that are the basis of the probation;
  • limit practice to the areas prescribed by the board;  or
  • continue or review continuing professional education until the license holder attains a degree of skill satisfactory to the board in the areas that are the basis of the probation.

However, if the individual violates the terms of their probation at any time, the TMB can hold a hearing upon a showing of adequate cause, revoke the individual’s probation, and implement the license suspension. 

The Texas Board of Nursing

Tex. Occ. Code, Sec. 301.468 authorizes the Texas Board of Nursing (BON) to fully probate the suspension of a nursing license for a specific period during disciplinary proceedings. When subject to an order of probation, the individuals must follow all conditions outlined in that order, which can include the following conditions:

  • limiting the practice of the person to, or excluding, one or more specified activities of professional nursing or vocational nursing;
  • requiring the person to submit to supervision, care, counseling, or treatment by a practitioner designated by the board; or
  • requiring the person to submit to random drug or alcohol tests in the manner prescribed by the board.

BON can also rescind the probation of a suspended nursing license after a hearing if it determines that the individual has violated the terms and conditions of the probation order. For instance, if the probation order provided for periodic drug testing and the individual refused to submit to a drug test or a drug test revealed positive results, the individual has violated that condition, and BON may rescind the individual’s probation order. 

Texas Department of Health and Human Services

The Department of Health Services of the Texas Department of Health and Human Services (the Department) regulates licensed chemical dependency counselors, among other professionals. Under 25 Tex. Admin. Code Sec. 140.426, the Department can take disciplinary action against counselors who have violated the laws or rules that govern the profession. One potential sanction is to suspend a counselor’s professional license. Still, the Department can probate that suspension or place the counselor on probation under certain terms and conditions for a specific period. 

Similar to other professions, a licensed chemical dependency counselor placed on probation may have to submit to the following requirements while on probation:

  • report regularly to the Department on matters that are the basis of the probation;
  • limit practice to the areas prescribed by the Department or
  • complete additional educational requirements, as required by the Department to address the areas of concern that are the basis of the probation.

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Texas Education Agency and the State Board for Educator Certification

Teachers and other education professionals are certified and regulated by the Texas Education Agency. The State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC), a division of the TEA, handles all disciplinary actions against these professionals. Under 19 Tex. Admin. Code Sec. 249.15, the SBEC may suspend the license of a teacher or other education professional and probate that suspension. As part of that probation, the SBEC may “impose any conditions or restrictions upon a certificate that the SBEC deems necessary to facilitate the rehabilitation and professional development of the educator or to protect students, parents of students, school personnel, or school officials. 

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We Will Represent Your Interests in Your Disciplinary Proceedings 

We know how important it is to continue working in your chosen field. The experienced professional license defense attorney at Bertolino LLP, will advocate on your behalf to help you protect your license and career. Together, we will work to put you in the best position possible to maintain your license and professional future. Call us at (512) 515-9518 or contact us online.

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