If you are a California professional facing disciplinary action, your career can end up in the hands of bureaucrats and disgruntled consumers.
In our state, there are a number of occupations in which one needs a state license in order to practice one’s profession. These professional services include:
- Medical professionals (physicians, nurses, surgeons, dentists, psychoanalysts, podiatrists, psychologists, veterinarians, pharmacists, optometrists, therapists, etc.)
- Cosmetologists and barbers
- Funeral workers
- Court reporters
- Automotive workers (smog check operators and repair shops)
- Contractors (building, landscape)
- And many others
The stated purpose of California’s broad licensing scheme is to protect consumers. The state has multiple overseeing bodies to certify that specific types of professional service providers meet specific minimum performance standards. These licensing boards, commissions, or agencies create and maintain schemes for licensing, testing, regulating and disciplining members of these professions. Through these mechanisms, California’s professional licensing system is intended to assist consumers to make both safe and wise choices in selecting the professionals with whom they do business, and to provide some method of redress when consumers have been ill-served.
If you are one of these professionals, you should be aware of the many rules and regulations that govern your profession. Likewise, you probably also know that, despite your best efforts at meeting the requirements of these rules and regulations, it is not always easy to avoid problems and complaints. Not only are some of the generalized regulations and standards vague or difficult to navigate in a given situation, it is not always easy to satisfy every consumer, no matter how high your standards are, and regardless of how well you adhere to your professional obligations.
If you have encountered a problem with a licensing board due to a complaint from one of your clients or customers, or for a non-work related criminal offense like a DUI, the Sacramento professional license attorney Law is prepared to help you.
It is Critical to Defend Yourself if Your License is Under Review Before a Licensing Body
In most cases, professional licensing boards must follow a strict and formal complaint and discipline process. Many boards are required to comply with California’s Administrative Procedure Act, a state law that governs all administrative agencies in their dealings with private citizens, and these procedures can be as stringent and critical as a civil court. They can also be complex and confusing. Failure to adequately defend yourself before California’s professional licensing agencies can lead to your license being suspended or revoked. This would not only end or eliminate your ability to make a living at your profession, but any adverse action will become a permanent public record that can affect your professional reputation and hinder future prospects for your professional success.
If you are required to appear before an administrative law court, the procedure is much like a criminal or civil hearing. The board is on one side, and you are on the other, and an Administrative Law Judge hears the case. At the conclusion of the hearing, the judge will make a decision regarding about what transpired if there is a dispute about the facts, as well as make a recommendation to the board or agency concerning your fitness to retain your license. At that point, the licensing body is free to adopt the judge’s finding, or to make its own findings. Adverse final decisions by the regulating body may be appealed to a California Superior Court.
If you are facing disciplinary action, you cannot afford to risk your future and your livelihood simply by offering excuses. Unless you have a legal defense strategy – along with evidence, proof, and argument – not even reasonable arguments may hold sway. As the law now stands, agencies and administrative law courts are disposed to favoring the public interest rather than the license holder, out of precaution for protecting consumers. As a result, defending yourself before a licensing board takes careful preparation and an in-depth understanding of how administrative law courts operate.
It is always in your best interest to retain a prof. licensing attorney to represent you, no matter what stage of the proceedings. Not only does a licensing attorney understand the procedures and legal implications, but what happens before an administrative body will establish the record for any subsequent civil action in a Superior Court or in any subsequent appeals. If the administrative record presents an adverse record for the licensee, it is very unlikely that the licensee will be able to have the decision of the board or agency reversed, since courts give deference to these agencies and boards based upon the idea that these bodies have specialized knowledge of the profession they regulate.
If You Need Help Protecting Your Professional License, Call a Sacramento Professional License Attorney
DWB Law is an experienced legal office. We are experienced in representing professionals at hearings of all types before professional licensing boards and agencies, as well as before administrative law courts. In addition, because our firm has a broad criminal defense practice, we can also help clients facing concurrent criminal charges related to allegations of professional misconduct.
We fully understand the implications of disciplinary procedures in licensing cases. Defending a client means that I do everything I can to prove that, whatever the allegations, our client does not present a threat or danger to the health, safety, or welfare of the consuming public, and should be allowed to continue practicing his or her profession. It is our job to make sure that we present the best legal defenses and arguments possible, and do everything we can to demonstrate our client’s fitness to perform his or her profession.
I know that a lot is riding on the success of our efforts, and we will investigate and pursue any viable defense. Our strategy may include demonstrating how a given rule or regulation is insufficiently clear to give the licensee a comprehensive understanding of his or her professional obligation; or, we may show that, based upon the information and knowledge that the licensee had at the time or due to the complainant’s own conduct, his or her decision fell within the acceptable standards of the profession.
Whatever your case requires, you can be sure that the attorney at DWB Law will firmly adhere to the principle that the right to engage in a profession of your choice is one of the fundamental liberties protected by the United States Constitution. As a professional myself, I am fully aware that professionals earn their licenses through study, hard work, commitment, and dedication, and that, to take away someone’s ability to earn a living, CA’s regulatory boards, commissions, and agencies should be required to meet their own stringent standards of fairness and due process.