If you are any sort licensed professional, anyone from a real estate agent to a neurologist puts their license at risk if they are arrested for a crime or even simply receives a formal complaint against them. While not every crime merits the licensing board’s attention, if your behavior is beginning to affect your work or if you are arrested for a crime that may have affected your work, you can expect to be contacted by the licensing board.
While this seems like something you should handle on your own, if you have committed a crime, going before the licensing board may merit representation by a lawyer. Not consulting your legal counsel before may result in an unfair revocation of your professional license.
WHAT TO DO BEFORE A LICENSING BOARD HEARING
If you have committed a crime that might result in a complaint to the licensing board, it probably will result in one. Even if you have not received an ethics complaint or any contact from the licensing board yet, it is never too soon to prepare for what is likely going to happen. When you receive the complaint or think your license is going to be in peril due to your behavior, there are two steps to take first:
- Check Your Malpractice Coverage – While not always the case, you may be able to have your malpractice or professional practice insurance cover the legal costs involved in defending your professional license. Furthermore, if you have received a complaint, almost all professional practice insurance companies require notification.
- Contact a Lawyer – Receiving a notice of investigation by your licensing board is pretty rattling, even if it was expected after an arrest. While your first impulse may be to contact the investigator or the board themselves, resist the impulse. In cases where your license is in peril, the process is one of front-loaded information. This means by the time you already appear before the board, the investigation is done and the board members already probably know what they are going to do. When you contact a lawyer as soon as possible, the facts can be examined and your lawyer will know what route to take. Often when you contact a lawyer quickly, they can work towards lowering the resulting disciplinary action or having the case dropped altogether.
ADDRESS THE COMPLAINT
Once you have received a notice from the board, don’t assume that just because they gave you 30 days to respond that you have 30 days to take action. The day you receive that notice should also be the day you call a lawyer to examine the issue, if you have not already.
BE CANDID WITH YOUR LAWYER
The investigator or the licensing board may not be on your side, but your lawyer is. If you committed a crime or did anything that was shady, you need to tell them. They won’t judge you, but they do need to know what they are up against and what an investigator might uncover to appropriately take action. When it comes to examining the facts of your professional license case, no detail is too small or unimportant in regards to your practice.
RESPOND AS ADVISED
You may think you know what is best when dealing with the licensing board of your profession, but you may be digging yourself into a hole if you go against your lawyer’s advice. Once they have examined your case, they will advise you as to what to say, who to say it to, and when you should say it. If you fail to heed your attorney’s advice, you are not only making their job harder, but you are making it harder to avoid the disciplinary action that can affect your career and reputation.
Have you received a complaint from the licensing board of your profession or committed a crime that would call your license into question? Don’t wait to see what happens, contact us today so the Speas Law Firm can take action on your case.