The rules and laws that relate to professional disciplinary proceedings can be complex. Failing to respond to a licensing board complaint within a short timeframe can result in the board taking adverse action against your license, leaving you little legal recourse. As a result, you need to contact a Texas licensing board defense attorney for immediate assistance if you receive notice of a complaint against your license.
No matter how groundless you believe the allegations against you to be, the outcome of a disciplinary complaint can be devastating for your personal and professional life. Ignoring or failing to respond to the complaint can be disastrous. As a result, you must take these proceedings seriously, no matter the circumstances, to avoid a negative result.
In many cases, you must respond to notice of a complaint from your licensing board or agency within the appropriate timeframe to avoid a default order. A lack of response often gives the license board or agency the authority to go ahead and impose whatever sanctions they are recommending based on the violations of rules or laws that they allege you have committed. The agency will issue this order without your agreement and without first holding a hearing or asking for any further response from you concerning the complaint.
Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation
For example, the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation (TDLR), which licenses and regulates various occupations, issues a Notice of Alleged Violation (NOAV) to a licensee when an investigation has revealed evidence of a violation of a rule or law. Under Tex. Occ. Code §51.304, if the licensee fails to respond within 20 days after they receive the NOAV by accepting the TDLR’s recommendations and proposed penalties or requesting a hearing, the TDLR Executive Director will enter a default order.
Texas Board of Nursing
While the Texas Board of Nursing (TBON) does not immediately enter a default order when a nurse does not respond to a disciplinary complaint, it eventually issues a default order. For instance, if TBON cannot reach a nurse during the informal settlement process for a complaint, it will automatically file formal disciplinary charges against the nurse. Formal charges require the nurse to respond in writing within 20 days. If the nurse at that point fails to timely respond, the case may proceed to revocation of the license holder’s nursing license by default.
Texas Commission on Law Enforcement
37 Tex. Admin. Code §223.3(a) states that licensees must respond to a petition or notice of violation from the Executive Director of the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) no more than 20 days after receipt. Failure to respond or file an answer within that timeframe may result in a default order. Likewise, if the licensee files a timely answer requesting a contested hearing and fails to appear after receiving proper notice, the executive director may move for default judgment against the licensee.
Failure to Provide Information
Many licensing agencies also have rules and potential sanctions for licensees for failure to timely respond to requests for information. In addition, failing to answer questions or produce requested information can be further grounds for disciplinary action and sanctions in many professions.
Texas Medical Board
Under 22 Tex. Admin. Code §179.4(a), if the Texas Medical Board (TMB) requests a licensee to produce medical records related to a disciplinary investigation or proceeding, they must do so within a reasonable time. This section defines a reasonable time as no more than fourteen calendar days or a shorter time if the urgency of the situation requires it or there is a possibility that the records may be lost, destroyed, or damaged. Likewise, 22 Tex. Admin. Code §179.4(e) states that a physician or license holder of the TMB shall respond in writing to all written TMB requests for information within ten days of the date of the request. Failure to timely respond to a request can result in further disciplinary action.
Texas Real Estate Commission
Tex. Occ. Code §1101.652(a-1)(2) provides that the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) can suspend or revoke a license or take other disciplinary action if the license holder “fails or refuses to produce on request, within a reasonable time, for inspection by the commission or a commission representative, a document, book, or record that is in the license holder’s possession and relates to a real estate transaction conducted by the license holder.” Similarly, under Tex. Occ. Code §1101.652(a)(4), TREC may suspend or revoke a license if the license holder “fails to provide, within a reasonable time, information requested by the commission that relates to a formal or informal complaint to the commission that would indicate a violation of this chapter or Chapter 1102.”
State Bar of Texas
Texas Disciplinary Rule of Professional Conduct 8.04(a)(8) provides that “a lawyer shall not: fail to timely furnish to the Chief Disciplinary Counsels office or a district grievance committee a response or other information as required by the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure unless he or she in good faith timely asserts a privilege or other legal ground for failure to do so.” Accordingly, this behavior is classified as a type of misconduct for which licensed attorneys in Texas may face disciplinary action.
Get Help Defending Your Professional License Today
A complaint can significantly affect your career and your ability to support yourself. Disciplinary action against you may result in the suspension or revocation of your license. However, you may avoid these damaging consequences with a quick response and the right defense from the outset of your case. Contact the license defense attorneys at Bertolino LLP so that we can investigate your case. You can call our office at (512) 515-9518 or visit us online to get more information about the services we can offer you.