Administrative Review Process
Sacramento License Defense Lawyer
Legal Trouble With Your Professional Licensing Board? Sacramento license defense lawyer Richard Dudek handles professional license defense cases in California.
Professional License DefenseIn the state of California, by law, many people who hold a profession in an industry like medical, legal, construction, service, and many more, require to hold a current professional license in order to practice their profession. If you are a licensed professional, you have invested a substantial amount of years and money for education. You are considered an expert in your field and know how to advance in such profession. If you are facing an investigation, allegation or accusation that questions your license, contact an experienced Sacramento professional license defense attorney immediately for help.
Some disciplinary actions against your licensee could occur for:
- Negligent care
- Improper prescriptions or administration of drugs
- Professional misconduct
- Inadequate maintenance of patient charts or records in the medical field
- Chemical dependency (drugs and alcohol)
- Criminal arrests
- Unprofessional conduct
As soon as you learn of any allegations against you, contact a Sacramento professional license defense attorney. Every case is unique and an attorney will be able to guide you through the investigations and process as a whole. An attorney can also advise you on a wide variety of licensing matters such as:
- License applications and denials
- Letters of inquiry
- Professional discipline and misconduct
- Violations of professional ethics and state regulations
If you are at the brink of losing your license, you need help. You rely on your profession for your livelihood. Any allegation to bring that down can cause you to suffer from emotional and financial distress. Don’t wait any longer to get help. A skilled attorney can help build a persuasive story to defend you.
The Administrative Review Process
Law Offices of Richard Dudek is a professional license defense law firm helping professional clients facing administrative review hearings under a variety of circumstances. However, one of the most crucial tasks we can perform is to defend licensees facing accusations from a consumer, in which the consumer is asking the relevant board or agency to administer some disciplinary action—possibly even license revocation—against a licensee.
Receiving an Accusation
In general, you will learn about an adverse action when you receive something called an ‘Accusation’ notice from the appropriate licensing agency. These Accusation notices must be taken seriously. Unfortunately, the time frame for responding to them can be very brief—you may have only 15 days to file a Notice of Defense. In particular, it is essential that you read the information contained in the notice carefully, and comply with all of the instructions. Failure to respond the Accusation could result in a Default Decision and Order, and that order may result in you professional licensed being revoked.
While you may be tempted to handle the matter yourself, particularly if you believe that the basis for the accusation is flimsy, or that the person complaining is unreasonably disgruntled, it is important to remember that the board in question must take every complaint seriously and as a legitimate and valid complaint. You should not assume that the board is sympathetic to you; on the contrary, the board’s primary constituency is the consumer. Consequently, whether or not you believe that the complaint has merit, it is important to consult a Sacramento professional license defense attorney from the very beginning to explain to you the process that is involved and the potential consequences, as well as how best to address the particular accusation against you.
Final Resolution of the Accusation
There are two ways an Accusation may be resolved: through a stipulated settlement, or via an administrative hearing.
Stipulated Settlement Resolution
If you believe that there may be some merit to the Accusation, you may decide that the best route is to enter into a stipulated settlement with the board by accepting some disciplinary action. If so, the relevant regulatory agency often publishes a set of disciplinary guidelines which can help evaluate whether and what may be appropriate; however, it is advisable to consult a professional licensing attorney to evaluate whether settlement is really your best option. Occasionally, even some minor wrongdoing or error on the part of a professional is arguably not relevant to the issue of licensure or may not be sufficient to warrant discipline, and your attorney can advise you as to whether you need to accept any disciplinary action at all, or what disciplinary action would be reasonable.
If settlement is appropriate, you attorney can help you:
- Negotiate with the agency;
- Present your position in the best light possible, including evidence of mitigation, remediation, or rehabilitation;
- Fashion a remedy that suits your personal priorities; and
- Advise you about the consequences, or potential consequences, of any proposed settlement.
The settlement terms sought by the board may address a broad range of options, from dismissing the action, to a public reprimand, to a fine, to probation, to enduring a temporary license suspension, or all the way up to voluntarily surrendering the license.
Administrative Hearing Resolution
If you choose to defend your license after you file your Notice of Defense, you or your attorney will have to communicate with the licensing board’s attorney to begin the hearing process. Administrative hearings are governed by California’s Administrative Procedures Act, (California Government Code 11370 and following), and, except for hearings related to liquor licenses and attorney discipline hearings, the California Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) hears all professional license cases. While the process is somewhat similar to a lawsuit, administrative hearings have special considerations, such as procedural and evidentiary rules, that require your attorney to have a thorough understanding of administrative processes.
First, you will pursue “discovery.” Discovery is the process by which you obtain information about the case against you—copies of the documents and other evidence obtained in the administrative investigation, names of material and expert witnesses, and so on. At this point, you will need to begin developing your defense strategy, including obtaining your own evidence, witnesses, and experts, in order to help you to prove that the allegations are false, distorted, mistaken, or otherwise insufficient to merit discipline. In an administrative hearing, you will be required to testify, so your attorney can prepare you for the types of questions you will be asked. Your attorney will also help you to devise the best defense arguments relevant to the retention of your license, including, if appropriate, any mitigation measures you have taken, or any potential or performed rehabilitation measures that you may take that can protect your license.
Your case will then proceed to a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The process is adversarial, in which the board’s attorney will present the case against you, and you then have the opportunity to will defend yourself. After the hearing, the ALJ usually has 30 days to render a final decision and make a recommendation to the board as to how to resolve the case. The board, however, has the final say in what action will ultimately be taken, and you will receive that decision within another 100 days. If the licensee opposes the board’s action, he or she can then appeal the decision. Depending upon the situation, the decision can be appealed to the agency itself (a Request for Reconsideration) or to California Superior Court.
Contact Sacramento License Defense Lawyer
No matter what kind of professional license you hold, you worked very hard to get it and you cannot afford to lose it now. If you have received notice from your administrative licensing board that your licensure is under investigation or being denied for an alleged wrongdoing, including criminal convictions for DUIs, the immediate counsel of a licensure defense attorney with a demonstrable track record can be of enormous help to you. Let Sacramento license defense lawyer Richard Dudek help you fight for your LIFE!