Legal representation can make a world of difference in a formal contested hearing before the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) in Texas. Hiring an attorney helps an individual present a strong argument in a formal hearing regarding their professional, medical, or vocational license.
You don’t have to go through a hearing alone. Bertolino LLP has comprehensive experience in formal contested hearings involving the SOAH. Our licensed defense lawyers can help professionals like you prepare for your formal contested, evidentiary hearing and defend yourself accordingly.
Do You Need Representation During a Formal Contested Hearing?
You aren’t required to secure representation prior to a formal contested hearing before the SOAH. You can attend a hearing and present your own argument to an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). That said, doing so can do more harm to your case than good if you’re not well-experienced and adequately prepared.
For example, if you’re not familiar with the SOAH hearing process, you may misrepresent your circumstances and increase the chance that the board may not rule in your favor. Comparatively, a professional licensed defense attorney in Texas knows the procedural rules associated with SOAH hearings.
When you collaborate with experienced professionals, you save yourself the stress of having to research your best defense and represent yourself before a discerning board. Our team can step in and put our experience to use on your behalf while you focus on getting your career back on track.
A Lawyer Can Help Prepare You for a Hearing by Helping You Gather Discovery
“Discovery” is a key part of the preparation for a SOAH formal contested hearing. During the discovery period, your attorney can gather evidence relevant to your position. The discovery process further requires the prosecution (“Staff Attorney”) and defense to share information with one another, meaning that you may have time to draft responses to the prosecution’s accusations.
You can also count on an attorney to bring forward witness statements addressing your case and challenging the accusations brought against you. If the need arises, you can even count on an attorney to reach out to local professionals to contribute expert testimony to your case.
All the while, you can count on your attorney to keep you in the loop as to the progress of your case. You can schedule regular consultations to discuss what evidence an attorney has on hand and how you can use that data to challenge your accuser’s claims during your SOAH hearing. The more time you have to work with an attorney, the stronger your defense can be.
What to Expect During Your Hearing
There is a chance that you or the agency Staff Attorney may file for “Summary Disposition” prior to the beginning of your SOAH hearing. Should that opportunity not arise, your attorney can issue an opening statement on your behalf as a traditional SOAH hearing begins. Your attorney can specifically guide you through your initial examination before bringing witnesses forward for your cross.
Once both you and the Staff Attorney have presented the cases before the administrative law judge (ALJ), both attending representatives can give their closing statements. Your attorney can subsequently urge the ALJ to see the case from your perspective and consider how a negative ruling may impact your professional career, reputation, and livelihood.
From there, your case can move to deliberation. Once the ALJ comes to a decision regarding the accusations brought against you, the ALJ will then deliver the decision to all parties involved. The ALJ’s decision is called a “Proposal for Decision.” If the ALJ does not rule in your favor, you can work with your TX license defense attorney to prepare Exceptions to the Proposal for Decision, a Motion for New Trial and a subsequent appeal.
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Does Having Legal Representation Speed Up a Hearing?
SOAH hearings do not operate in the same way civil or criminal hearings do. While you might rely on an attorney to negotiate with opposing counsel regarding civil or criminal timelines for the hearing, thus speeding up the legal process, your SOAH hearing is not necessarily bound by the same temporal timelines. Your SOAH hearing could last anywhere from a few hours to a week, depending on your circumstances. But we understand you are busy, Our attorneys can dedicate their energy and resources to the presentation of your case while you assess your professional standing and take care of your day-to-day needs.
What’s more, an attorney’s experience prevents you from having to double-back on incorrect research or try and explain away mistakes you might make without pre-established knowledge of how a SOAH hearing works. In this way, working with an attorney throughout a SOAH hearing saves you time by increasing the efficiency of your defense.
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Bertolino LLP Can Help You Prepare for Your Hearing
Receiving notice of a formal contested hearing before the State Office of Administrative Hearing can be intimidating. The good news is that you don’t have to go into these proceedings on your own. You can collaborate with professionals to represent your best interests in the face of accusations against your professionalism.
Bertolino LLP provides access to best-in-class attorneys who represent professionals in a wide range of disciplines. We can put you in touch with a Texas license defense attorney who can best represent you as you go before the State Office of Administrative Hearings. For more information or to request a free consultation, call our office or contact us online today.