A professional license typically represents years of studying, test preparation, and training. You have worked hard to earn your license and work in your chosen profession. However, receiving notice of a complaint from your licensing board or agency can suddenly put your future in jeopardy. When you are in this situation, you need to take robust and immediate action to defend yourself. The professional license defense attorneys at Bertolino, LLP can help.
Responding to a Letter of Investigation
In some cases, you might be expecting a letter of investigation from your licensing board. For example, perhaps you had too much to drink, and police arrested you for DWI. A client may have complained about your services and threatened to report you to your licensing board. A supervisor accused you of making a mistake, and you were received a demotion at your job. These situations might all lead to a letter of investigation by your licensing board that you aren’t too surprised to receive.
However, in other cases, you might unexpectedly receive a letter of investigation. You weren’t aware that a client or patient was unhappy with your services. The allegations against you may be completely false. Nevertheless, even if the complaint seems to lack all merit, you must take it seriously.
While it may be tempting to simply explain your side of the story to the licensing board, we advise that you refrain from doing so. You may inadvertently give the licensing board more evidence to use against you in a disciplinary proceeding. The fact is that the licensing board is not your friend and their interests are entirely adverse to yours.
Your most prudent course of action is to allow us to review the letter of investigation and determine how to respond. We also can answer your questions about the disciplinary process and what you should do next. Asking these questions directly to the licensing board instead of your attorneys can lead to you divulging information that hurts your case.
You often have a limited timeframe to respond to the letter of investigation from your licensing board. However, how you respond to that letter can be crucial and significantly impact the course of the investigation and the outcome of your case. We can help you craft thorough and careful responses designed to stop the investigation in its tracks. Our goal is to stop the investigation before it goes further by providing a decisive and definitive response to the allegations against you. While stopping the investigation at this stage of the proceedings is not always possible, it is an outcome that we have been able to achieve in many cases.
Gathering and Reviewing Evidence in Your Case
If your licensing board is pursuing a formal investigation into the complaint against you, it likely will interview all relevant parties and gather any documentary evidence relevant to the matter. Your license defense lawyer can review all evidence that the licensing board gathers and consider its weight and veracity.
Likewise, we can perform an independent investigation to uncover any pieces of evidence that the licensing board has failed or neglected to find. We will pursue any potential avenue of evidence that may provide evidence to support an argument that you did not violate the rules or laws applicable to your profession.
Representing You Through the Different Phases of Your Disciplinary Proceedings
Every professional licensing agency has slightly different rules governing complaints and disciplinary proceedings. However, they all follow the same basic procedures.
First, following a formal investigation, the licensing board will present any findings of violations of rules or law and may propose a sanction. You typically will have the chance to accept the licensing board’s findings and proposed sanction if you choose. However, you may also negotiate to reach a mutually acceptable resolution of the complaint. We can help you in the informal negotiations process by highlighting evidence and working out an agreeable settlement to minimize any impact on your career.
If we cannot reach an agreement and the licensing board wishes to pursue formal disciplinary action against you, they will transfer your case to the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). SOAH assigns an administrative law judge (ALJ) to your case, and your case proceeds much like a case would proceed in a courtroom. However, your case is subject to special SOAH procedural rules instead of being subject to regular court rules. After completing discovery to exchange evidence, our attorneys will represent you at an administrative hearing before the ALJ.
The ALJ will develop recommended findings and proposed sanctions to the licensing board after the hearing. That board then may adopt, modify, or reject the ALJ’s proposal in most cases. Then, finally, the board issues an order. If you disagree with that final order, you may appeal the order in the court system, which we also can handle on your behalf.
Defend Your Professional License Today
If you are facing an investigation by your professional licensing board or agency, you need assistance in defending yourself and your license from the severe consequences of formal discipline. At Bertolino LLP, we offer experienced professional license defense services for individuals involved in various professions. Contact us today by calling (512) 515-9518 or reaching out to us online. We can examine your case and help you devise the legal strategy that is best designed to safeguard your professional license.