Dozens of professions are regulated in Texas by licensing boards and state agencies. Doctors are regulated by the Texas Medical Board, attorneys by the State Bar of Texas, and behavior analysts by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDRL), just to name a few. These licensing boards are created by statute and required by law to implement a process to handle complaints filed against licensees.
Complaints with sufficient evidence of wrongdoing are most often handled through negotiations and informal resolutions. Contested cases that are not resolved by agreement between the board and the licensee move to a formal hearing before the Texas State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH).
After the SOAH Hearing
What happens after the SOAH hearing depends on which licensing board is party to the case. In some cases, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) who heard the case will issue a Proposal for Decision for the licensing board. In most cases, the ALJ will issue their Proposal for Decision (PFD) no later than 60 days after the close of the hearing record. Though, in certain cases, the deadline may be shorter or longer.
If you do not agree with the ALJ's decision you may file written exceptions with SOAH. The ALJ has a duty to review all exceptions and replies and notify you and the board if there are any changes to the Proposal for Decision.
After the “exceptions” period is over, the ALJ will either amend the original Proposal for Decision or order it final. It is then up to the licensing board to adopt the ALJ’s final Proposal for Decision as-is or make certain changes to it and issue a final order to the licensee. However, the licensing boards must follow strict guidelines to amend an ALJ’s Proposal for Decision.
Appealing the SOAH Decision
Finally, you have the right to appeal the final order of the licensing board or SOAH to a Travis County District Court. Generally speaking, the Court will give deference to the original SOAH or board decision.
The best course of action is to mount a strong defense from the very beginning of the complaint process. It is far more challenging and costlier to appeal an unfavorable ruling than to defend yourself properly from the start. We encourage any licensee who receives a notice of complaint from their board to consult with a professional license defense attorney immediately. The sooner you have a strong advocate on your side the more likely it is that you will get the most favorable outcome possible in the case against you.
Aggressive and Effective License Defense
BERTOLINO LLP provides aggressive advocacy for professionals who are facing disciplinary action in front of a licensing board or regulatory agency in Texas. We help professionals keep their licenses. We have consistently won significant cases for doctors, nurses, lawyers, architects, pharmacists and other professionals dealing with issues that could jeopardize their ability to work. We know how to build a strong case to protect your license - and your livelihood.
For more information on defending your license against an attack by a state agency or licensing board, read our articles:
- What Are My Legal Options After Receiving A Complaint Notice?
- Defending Your Professional License in Texas: What You Need to Know
- Your Right to an Attorney When Your Texas Professional License Is Under Attack
For guidance in your particular case, contact us today to schedule a case evaluation.
Our law firm helps professionals, like you, keep their licenses when those licenses are under attack by a state agency or board.
With offices in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio, we serve clients all over the state. As experienced attorneys, well-versed in state and federal laws, we know how to win. Our results speak for themselves!
If you are facing disciplinary action from a professional licensing board, contact us today or call (512) 717-5432 and schedule a case evaluation.