If your Texas licensing board matter proceeds beyond the investigation stage or informal resolution stage, then your case will likely be heard at the Texas State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). A SOAH hearing is conducted similarly to how a courtroom nonjury trial operates. While SOAH is an administrative court, the procedures are still quite formal and involves specific adherence to the SOAH rules of procedure, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure and any special procedural rules specific to the licensing board filing the complaint.
Navigating administrative hearing before SOAH can be complex. To help ensure the best possible outcome in your case we urge you to hire a professional license defense attorney well-versed in administrative law. You have the right to be represented by an attorney at any proceeding before SOAH and the right to an attorney during all stages of the complaint process.
Attorneys who are unfamiliar with administrative law cases, and license defense law in particular, can often make mistakes that could result in missing important deadlines and possibly prejudicing the case. For instance, the evidentiary rules governing nonjury civil cases in Texas district courts apply equally in contested cases at SOAH; however, attorneys who are unfamiliar with the SOAH rules may not realize that some rules are different.
Navigating Administrative Hearings at the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH)
Several discovery tools are available to you and your professional license defense attorney prior to the SOAH hearing. These tools include, but are not limited to:
- Request for Disclosure: These requests seek basic information regarding the Texas licensing board’s legal and factual basis for the case and contact information for any witnesses or experts the board plans to utilize in the matter.
- Request for Production: These requests require the Texas licensing board provide documents and other evidence that it possesses that are relevant to the case.
- Written Interrogatories: These requests are written questions that require an open answer. These can be especially helpful in requiring detailed responses on pivotal points of the case.
With sufficient discovery, your attorney can properly prepare for the SOAH hearing. Just as in a trial, at SOAH evidence is proffered and testimony is given. The hearing is presided over by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), who will make findings of fact and conclusions of law.
After the SOAH hearing, generally the ALJ will issue his or her order and findings of fact and write a recommendation for the licensing board, which is called a Proposal For Decision (PFD). Thereafter, generally the licensing board will ultimately decide your case and any sanctions against you. However, in some cases the ALJ may issue the final decision to which the licensing board must adhere. The board’s decision can be appealed to the Texas district court.
Hire the Experienced License Defense Attorneys of BERTOLINO LLP
If you have been notified of a complaint filed against you with a licensing board, agency, or commission in Texas, BERTOLINO LLP can help. We are experienced license defense attorneys and we know how to navigate the complaint process against any professional, medical, or vocational license. We are prepared to represent you at any legal hearing or proceeding regarding your license.
With years of combined license defense experience and knowledge, our attorneys thoroughly understand state and federal laws and how they apply to each case. We use this information to custom design the best possible defense for each client we represent. Our tailor-made approach means we will not treat you like a number. Your case matters here.
BERTOLINO LLP represents licensed professionals across the entire State of Texas. If you are facing disciplinary action from a professional licensing board, contact us today or call (512) 717-5432 and schedule a case evaluation.