While the complaint resolution process undertaken by each licensing body in Texas is unique, there are some general steps that can act as a guide for action across the board. For example, the first step a licensing board in Texas will usually take after receiving a formal complaint against a licensee is to undertake an initial investigation to determine whether the charges made are within its competence to examine and whether there appears to be enough evidence to open an investigation based on formal charges. If the board decides it does, then at this point, the board generally drafts a letter of notice to the licensee whose behavior is at issue, requesting a response. With this opening salvo, the broader investigation has generally begun. The response a licensee makes to this letter is, in a way, the “opening argument” for the licensee’s defense: it sets the scope of what the licensee will argue for the remainder of the complaint process.
The importance of the response letter must not be underestimated. This is the first chance the licensee gets to defend against the formal charges against their professional license. It needs to be well written, with the scope of the investigation in mind. Often a well-crafted response letter composed by our firm results in a dismissal of the complaint at this very first stage—particularly when we are contacted early enough that we have the time to do due diligence in gathering the information necessary to craft the best possible letter.
Moreover, the deadline for these response letters is often a mere 30 days from the day the licensee receives the notification of the complaint—if not sooner. If a licensee misses this deadline, it can result in all sorts of extra penalties, including the loss of defenses that might have been available—and the missing of the deadline itself is punishable in some cases with revocation of licensure.
Therefore, as soon as that letter arrives, a licensee should contact a qualified and experienced professional license defense attorney. The more time we have to craft a 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.
If you have been notified of a complaint from TDLR, BERTOLINO LLP can help. Our experienced professional license defense attorneys are skilled at navigating the Department’s 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.