- I have received a complaint letter informing me that I’m being investigated by a Texas state licensing or regulatory Board. What exactly does that mean?
- Generally, after receiving a complaint notice, what are my legal options?
- Do I really need an attorney?
- While I consider my options, should I call the Board and explain myself?
- Should I call the Board or Commission to ask questions about what happens next?
- What happens if I don’t respond at all to the Board’s Complaint Letter or Notice?
- The complaint or letter has some deadline dates within it. What happens if I miss the deadline?
- What sort of information should I provide to the attorney during the initial consultation?
- I was ticketed or arrested. Do I need to contact the Board?
- What if I have a DWI or DUI arrest and/or conviction?
- I recently applied to renew my license and the Board has either denied it entirely or is telling me I have to enter some sort of probationary or continuing education program. Do I have to do what they say in order to practice?
- Can I negotiate with the Board?
1. I have received a complaint letter informing me that I’m being investigated by a Texas state licensing or regulatory Board. What exactly does that mean?
A complaint or letter of investigation is a very serious matter. Your license, and correspondingly your livelihood, may be a risk. The Board may place your license on probation or revoke it entirely. State regulatory and licensing boards such as the Texas Medical Board, Texas Board of Nursing, Texas Real Estate Commission, Texas State Board of Pharmacy and the like may have the ability to conduct investigations into your life and business. In Texas, state boards are in charge of a wide variety of professions and occupations such as real estate agency, insurance agency, plumbing, and architecture.
2. Generally, after receiving a complaint notice, what are my legal options?
After receiving a complaint or letter of investigation, you have several options. You can attempt to respond to the allegations on your own, you can do nothing and hope for the best, or you can contact an attorney to defend you and your license. The most important thing to remember is that the Board’s chief mission is to protect the public. The Board has no interested in assisting you in defending your license. The Board’s interest is adverse to your own. In this way, the Board is not your friend, which means the “do nothing and hope for the best” option is definitely not an option.
3. Do I really need an attorney?
Absolutely. For assistance in defending your license, do not seek help from the investigator or any other Board personnel. Our recommendation is to seek the advice of an experienced and dedicated license defense attorney as soon as possible. Do not respond to the Board on your own. The Board has experienced staff attorneys who are very knowledgeable about the law. With that said, you will also need a defense attorney with experience.
4. While I consider my options, should I call the Board and explain myself?
Until you are ready to respond in full to the complaint notice or letter of investigation, you should not directly respond to the Board at all. Responses made to the Board before you hire an experienced attorney may still be held against you as admissions of guilt. These initial responses, often made out of fear and confusion, can significantly harm you and your license. Based on our experience with these matters, the most prudent action is to have the complaint or letter of investigation reviewed by an attorney. The attorney can then assist you in making a response that fully conveys your side of the events and gives the Board no unfair advantage over you.
5. Should I call the Board or Commission to ask questions about what happens next?
No. Oftentimes, license-holders will call the investigator or board to ask questions about what to do next. However, their urge to express to the Board their innocence often leads them to make responsive statements in connection with their questions. Once again, these statements may be construed as admissions and could severely damage your case.
6. What happens if I don’t respond at all to the Board’s Complaint Letter or Notice?
Failure to respond to a board complaint or investigation may result in adverse action against your license. In many cases, ignoring the Board order permits the Board to take action against you. Ignoring the issue does not make it go away. In many cases, not responding is treated as essentially admitting guilt.
7. The complaint or letter has some deadline dates within it. What happens if I miss the deadline?
If you have not responded and a deadline has passed, our recommendation is to contact an attorney immediately. The attorney can review your case and contact the board on your behalf. An attorney may be able to negotiate an extension of time with the Board even if the deadline has lapsed.
8. What sort of information should I provide to the attorney during the initial consultation?
In order to help maximize your time with an attorney, have the complaint or letter of investigation handy as well as your resume and your contact information. Think about people and documents the attorney might want to know about that may help you in defending your license. Any person or document who can verify what really happened is going to be helpful in your defense.
9. I was ticketed or arrested. Do I need to contact the Board?
Possibly. The facts of the specific incident may help an attorney determine if and when the board should be notified. It is important to realize that in some instances your “personal life” may actually be subject to the authority of the board. Many license-holders make the mistake of assuming they do not need to alert the board. Other license-holders do the opposite and alert the board when it is not necessary. In either instance, serious harm to your license may occur. This harm may be preventable with an attorney’s advice.
10. What if I have a DWI or DUI arrest and/or conviction?
A DWI/DUI arrest or conviction may require you to alert the Board now or at some time in the near future. Once again, an attorney may be able to assist you in determining the course of action that protects your license in this stressful time.
11. I recently applied to renew my license and the Board has either denied it entirely or is telling me I have to enter some sort of probationary or continuing education program. Do I have to do what they say in order to practice?
You cannot practice without the proper license. If the board won’t renew your license or won’t renew it until you agree with their terms, you may immediately contest their action. You should not practice your profession without the proper license as doing so will likely open you up to violation of Texas law and substantial penalties.
12. Can I negotiate with the Board?
Maybe. A license-holder can either attempt to negotiate on their own with the board or may hire an attorney to assist them. An experienced attorney may be able to assist you in negotiating better terms or the renewal of your license with no additional terms whatsoever.