The Texas State Office of Administrative Hearing (SOAH) hears cases against license holders of Texas licensing boards regarding complaints filed against the license holder, violations of board rules, or other alleged malfeasance.
Typically, board complaints are resolved prior to the case reaching the Texas State Office of Administrative Hearings. Whether by informal settlement, formal resolution, mediation, dismissal, or some other case resolution, the majority of licensing board issues do not reach a formal hearing before SOAH. However, it is important to prepare your defense against licensing board allegations as if you will appear before SOAH.
Preparing for Your Hearing at SOAH
After your licensing board refers its case against you to SOAH or you dispute a licensing board ruling in an appeal to SOAH, you will then receive a written Notice of Hearing from SOAH at least ten days prior to the hearing. The notice of hearing will provide you the following information:
- Informs you of when and where the hearing will be held.
- Describes the nature of the hearing.
- Will include a short statement of the facts that the licensing board or state agency claims to be true.
- Lists the laws and rules related to the hearing.
If you do not already have legal representation prior to receiving a Notice of Hearing from SOAH, we urge you to contact a professional license defense attorney immediately. Your professional license is on the line, it is not the time to take chances by trying to represent yourself. Navigating an administrative hearing before SOAH is complex. Hiring a professional license defense attorney well-versed in administrative law helps ensure the best possible outcome in your case.
A SOAH hearing is conducted similarly to how a courtroom trial operates, in which evidence is presented, testimony is given, and witnesses are questioned.
Discovery is a process for you to request information and documents from the licensing board, other agencies, other relevant parties, or individuals regarding your case. Discovery empowers you and your professional license defense attorney to get the evidence the board plans to use against you at the SOAH hearing. It further empowers you to uncover evidence that will help in your defense.
The discovery process goes both ways, and your attorney will produce to your licensing board the evidence that you will be using to defend against the board's allegations of misconduct or malfeasance.
Either your attorney or the licensing board may file a motion for summary disposition, which argues there should not be a hearing because the law requires a decision in the moving party's favor based on the evidence it has. The non-moving party has the opportunity to respond in writing to the motion for summary disposition.
The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) assigned to your case will review such a motion to determine if granting the motion is proper.
Prior to the SOAH hearing the parties will have the opportunity to resolve the dispute through mediation. This gives both parties a final opportunity to negotiate an agreement and to resolve the dispute on their own. While a successful mediation avoids the risk of having the case decided by the ALJ after the SOAH hearing, not all cases can or should be resolved through mediation. Your attorney can help you evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of any settlement offer.
Your Right to Have An Attorney Represent You at the SOAH Hearing
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.
The license defense attorneys of BERTOLINO LLP can help you protect your rights, navigate the legal process, and mount a strong defense. 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, including State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) Proceedings.
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.