Learning that a formal complaint has been filed against your professional license can cause a cascade of negative emotions to flood over you—none of them pleasant. It can be tempting to take personal action against the individual who has made the complaint, or to make an impassioned plea with the licensing board or commission based in your emotions, or to bury your head in the sand and just believe that it will all pass over without event. None of these are good ideas.
Why? Let’s look at a few behaviors that can be potentially detrimental to the outcome of the complaint process.
Sometimes someone who learns of a complaint will feel the urge to respond angrily to the notice of a complaint. Most boards, agencies, and commissions permit a licensee to respond to the notice of complaint in writing, with what is sometimes referred to as a “response letter.” But if this response letter comes across as hostile, the board will receive it as such. A response letter is more persuasive when it is dispassionate, based in fact, and cooperative—all behaviors a person under fire has trouble manifesting on their own. This is one very good reason to obtain a professional license defense attorney as soon as possible. This is, put simply, what lawyers are FOR.
Another common response to learning a complaint is going out and discussing the complaint with others—a colleague, for example, or even a customer. Some people are just natural talkers, who tend to work through whatever is on their mind by speaking about it with someone—anyone. But this, too, would be a mistake. Any such urge should be strongly tamped down. Instead, contact a professional license defense attorney to speak with, since this sort of conversation’s secrecy is protected by law, whereas colleagues or customers might be subject to being subpoenaed to speak against you.
Other professionals who have the sort of personality to ignore bad news sometimes set the notice of complaint aside and convince themselves to forget about it. Not good! Even not responding in time is a huge mistake. There is a deadline to respond to the complaint—and failing to do so by the date given is practically the same as forfeiting key elements of your defense, and can even result in further sanctions or disciplinary action since failing to respond is sometimes itself a violation of board rules!
This is why, as soon as the letter arrives informing a professional of a complaint alleging they have committed violations, they should contact a qualified and experienced professional license defense attorney. The more time we have to craft a dispassionate, persuasive response, the better. And the earlier in the process we are involved, the more likely the licensee is to achieve a positive outcome—up to and including a dismissal of the complaint. But we can’t help if we aren’t contacted.
The experienced professional license defense attorneys at BERTOLINO LLP are skilled at navigating the complaint process. We are prepared to represent you at any legal hearing or proceeding regarding your professional license. 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. Contact us today or call (512) 717-5432 to schedule a case evaluation.