What Should I Do if I Am Facing a Temporary or Emergency Suspension of My Professional License

Different professions have varying degrees of discipline that individuals can receive. The severity of discipline depends on various factors. Still, a license suspension is one of the more serious forms of discipline, as it directly affects your ability to continue doing your job. In extreme situations, many licensing boards can seek a temporary or emergency suspension of your professional license, which immediately prohibits you from engaging in your professional practice. A professional license defense lawyer can assist you in defending your professional license when a temporary or emergency suspension threatens your livelihood.

Procedures for Temporary Suspensions of Professional Licenses

Professional licensing boards and agencies will initiate temporary or emergency suspensions of a professional license if they believe that allowing an individual to continue practicing poses an imminent threat to the public. Under normal circumstances, individuals accused of misconduct are entitled to due process protections, including notice of the charges against them and a hearing. However, most agencies have provisions that allow them to suspend or restrict licenses without notice or hearings if allowing the professional to continue practicing would endanger the public. 

Nonetheless, suppose a professional licensing board issues a temporary or emergency license suspension without notice or hearing. In that case, it typically must schedule a hearing quickly to determine whether the immediate suspension should continue. For instance, if the Texas Board of Nursing (BON) issues a temporary suspension of a nursing license without notice, the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) must schedule a preliminary hearing within 17 days of the date of the temporary suspension. This hearing aims to determine whether there is probable cause for the temporary suspension to remain in place. 

Likewise, the Texas Medical Board (TMB) can hold a temporary suspension hearing without notice to a physician to determine if their medical license should be temporarily suspended or restricted under 22 Tex. Admin. Code § 187.55. A three-member panel of the TMB will determine whether continuing to allow the physician to practice would pose a continuing threat to the public welfare or a “real danger to the health of a physician’s patients or the public caused through the physician’s lack of competence, impaired status, or failure of care adequately for the physician’s patients.” 22 Tex. Admin. Code § 187.57(c). The physician’s continued practice must cause an actual risk of injury to others, not just a hypothetical risk of injury.

However, if the TMB finds cause to suspend the physician’s license without notice temporarily, it must immediately provide notice of the suspension to the physician. Furthermore, the TMB must schedule a hearing on the temporary suspension on the earliest possible date, but the agency must give the physician at least ten days’ notice of the hearing. 

Responding to a Temporary License Suspension

Consult with a Professional License Defense Attorney

If your professional licensing agency or board notifies you that they have temporarily suspended your professional license, you must immediately act. You will be facing an immediate hearing on the temporary suspension and ongoing disciplinary proceedings concerning the allegations against you. Therefore, your first step should be to consult with a professional license defense attorney. 

You worked for years and spent thousands of dollars to obtain your education and professional license. You now have abruptly lost the right to practice in your field. Trying to handle matters alone is not a logical or wise choice at this point. You have too much to lose and put yourself at risk of more significant sanctions if you attempt to represent yourself in disciplinary proceedings. 

An experienced Texas license defense lawyer will review the evidence in your case and help prepare a defense for your upcoming temporary license suspension hearing. We can work to preserve your ability to work and support yourself during your disciplinary proceedings. Together, we can show evidence to prove that a temporary suspension is not necessary to protect the public and that your continued practice in your profession presents no danger to the public welfare. 

Refrain from Any Further Actions that Might Harm Your Case

While your license is temporarily suspended, and generally, while your disciplinary proceedings are pending, you should avoid any actions that may further harm your case. In particular, you should discuss your case with family members, friends, employees, or anyone else but your attorney. Only your conversations with your attorney are covered by the attorney-client privilege. You also should refrain from commenting about the case on social media or making any comments that might be construed as commentary about your case. 

You also should avoid any activities or social gatherings that might cast an unfavorable light on you. For instance, if the allegations against you involve substance abuse, you should not be regularly seen in bars or drinking at social events. Avoid most social events altogether until your temporary suspension hearing is over. You don’t want to give your licensing board agency any additional evidence regarding your habits, lifestyle, or character that can be used against you. 

Gather and Organize Your Information and Evidence

You and your attorney have a limited amount of time to prepare for your temporary suspension hearing. As a result, you should work with your attorney to collect documents, witness statements, and any other necessary evidence to help prove your case. Overcoming a temporary suspension can go a long way toward a positive outcome in your disciplinary proceedings. This hearing also means the difference between being able to work and support yourself and being out of work for a lengthy period that could last months. Therefore, you must be as prepared as possible for the temporary suspension period. Furthermore, the more prepared you are for the temporary hearing, the more prepared you will be for the ongoing disciplinary proceedings. 

We Will Represent Your Interests in Your Disciplinary Proceedings 

We know how important it is to continue working to achieve your career goals. The experienced professional license defense lawyers 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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