Professionals who face license issues need answers. As with so many other challenges, information is king when facing license issues. What you know about license issues affects what you do about license issues. And what you don't know can definitely come back to haunt you.
The attorney you retain to represent you in your licensing proceeding surely needs to know the law and procedures. Your attorney representative also needs to be smart, skilled, dedicated, and experienced. Indeed, your choice of attorneys is your most important move. And when you retain professional license defense attorney Joseph D. Lento, you retain a premier lawyer with the greatest skills and dedication. You have every reason to trust and rely on national license defense attorney Joseph Lento to preserve your privilege to practice your profession.
Yet you, too, need to know some important things about license issues. You and your attorney are a team, and you need to be an informed member of your team. After skilled defense counsel, knowledge is your primary resource. The professional facing licensing issues requires a sound understanding of the entire license-proceeding landscape to make informed decisions and take appropriate action throughout the proceeding. For best results, get the best information. To get that complete understanding, you need reliable information about each of the following issues.
What's at Stake in License Proceedings
The professional facing a license issue first needs to know what the issue places at risk. What's at stake determines the seriousness with which the professional treats the problem. What's at stake also determines the time and resources the professional commits to overcoming the issue. The professional who thinks a license issue is a little thing devotes little time and trouble to overcoming it. Some professionals fail to take a license issue seriously. Those are the professionals who often fail to overcome the issue. What seems like a minor issue can quickly become a big problem. Case in point: the professional who fails to respond timely, accurately, and completely to a licensing inquiry may face license suspension simply for those failures, even if the underlying issue was minor.
If you face a licensing proceeding, you need to know that the suspension of your license is a natural default position for disciplinary officials. You may have heard that disciplinary officials believe in restorative justice. You may have heard that their main goal is to see you do better and do well again, with the least interruption in your professional practice. Think again. Disciplinary officials generally put the public first, the affected client or patient next, and the professional last. Disciplinary officials have other responsibilities, not to you but to the public and any alleged victim of your alleged professional misconduct. Any of the following results are possible in a license proceeding. Assuming that the worst sanction is a distinct possibility makes for a better defense strategy:
- dismissal of the charge with only the stress of the proceeding;
- public reprimand with attendant loss of reputation;
- interim suspension order issued immediately pending hearing;
- suspension after hearing for a limited duration;
- victim restitution or related relief;
- costs of the proceeding; and
- license revocation.
Any of these sanctions, from the charge alone, even if promptly dismissed, up to license revocation, could result in collateral consequences. Any license proceeding or sanction could cause lost access to hospital privileges, clinic privileges, research facilities, confidential databases, courts, security clearances, driver's or equipment licenses, association memberships, conference presentations, and other professional rights critical to your job and career. You could also lose patients, clients, colleague relationships, and your employment. These losses can cause significant stress on family and friend relationships. Some professionals lose everything when they lose their professional license. There is a lot to lose if you face a license issue. You certainly have enough at stake to retain the best available legal representation. Call professional license defense attorney Joseph D. Lento now at 888.535.3686 or go online.
Common Causes of Licenses Issues
Explore our website's detailed breakout pages on Common Cause of License Issues for helpful information. Know the source of license issues. License issues generally don't fall out of the sky. Instead, they often have a source in the professional's circumstances, character, commitments, or lack thereof. The disciplinary officials who investigate, evaluate, and decide license issues are generally well aware of the sources of license problems. And they expect the professional facing a license issue to recognize and address the source of the problem. The professional facing a license problem doesn't want a band-aid solution. Neither do the disciplinary officials. For the best outcome, the professional facing a license issue needs to address the problem's source so that the problem is over rather than lingering. Common causes of license issues can include:
- drug abuse and addictions indicating the need for medical, psychological, or addiction treatment;
- poor physical or mental health, contributing to prescription addictions, marijuana use, absenteeism, and neglect of duties;
- alcohol abuse and alcoholism contributing to drunk driving or disorderly persons offenses and performance inconsistency;
- unstable, abusive, and unhealthy family or other intimate relationships, requiring restraining orders;
- unstable, inappropriate, or harassing professional relationships, threatening employment privileges and causing management issues;
- mismanagement of personal and professional finances, contributing to bankruptcy, credit unworthiness, and embezzlement;
- pornography and solicitation to prostitution, affecting colleague relationships, reputation, respect, and public confidence; and
- criminal charges and convictions indicating a general disrespect for law, order, person, property, and civility.
The Investigatory and Adjudication Process
Check out our website's detailed breakout pages on the Investigatory and Adjudication Process for information critical to your successful defense of a licensing proceeding. Your process knowledge may be the most essential resource for your successful defense. You need to know what is happening and what is coming. Process knowledge helps you be ready, prepared, and effective in your own defense. Of course, your premier professional license defense attorney Joseph D. Lento has all the procedural knowledge, skill, and command to aggressively defend you. But you, too, need to be prepared. You also should want to know what's happening and what's coming in order to make wise decisions about the time and resources you will need to devote to the proceeding. In general, license proceedings follow these stages:
- a pre-accusation stage when the professional realizes that a license complaint may be coming, even though it has not arrived yet. The pre-accusation stage can be the best time to act with the help of a skilled lawyer representative;
- the complaint stage when a patient, client, colleague, public official, or other person notifies the licensing board of suspected professional misconduct. Depending on the nature of the complaint and the specific procedures, the professional may receive notice and have an opportunity or obligation to respond when the assistance of a skilled lawyer representative is absolutely critical;
- any interim suspension order when the disciplinary authority temporarily removes the professional's right to practice on an emergency basis to protect the public. Again, legal representation at this stage is critical;
- the investigation stage when the disciplinary authorities interview or depose the professional, any victim, and witnesses, and gather and analyze documents and other evidence. Professionals have their own interest in discovering incriminating and exonerating evidence. That interest compels skilled legal representation;
- the pre-hearing stage when disciplinary officials plan the disciplinary hearing but may also negotiate compromise relief. Experienced legal representation and advocacy can significantly increase the likelihood of an acceptable settlement of charges;
- the hearing stage when both sides present evidence to the hearing officer or panel. While administrative in nature, disciplinary hearings can be trial-like proceedings at which witnesses give sworn testimony under cross-examination, requiring the skill of a trial advocate; and
- any appeals. Administrative appellate practice requires skills in assembling and examining the appellate record and identifying and briefing the appealable issues.
Mitigation Evidence in License Proceedings
You should know something about mitigating evidence, too. Professionals facing license issues sometimes know that they have, in fact, violated a professional rule. The violation of a professional norm or rule is not necessarily the central concern of disciplinary authorities. Yes, rules are made to be followed. But professionals sometimes face circumstances where following the rule could cause greater harm than momentarily ignoring the rule or giving the rule an appropriate re-interpretation. Rules also have exceptions. And rules have countervailing interests and policies. While strict compliance with professional rules is generally the best course, disciplinary officials will consider mitigating circumstances. Disciplinary officials are human. A professional may turn what looks like a clear rule violation into a successful defense with the right mitigating evidence and attorney advocacy.
Rehabilitating a License Record
Professionals who suffer license discipline also need to know that all is not lost. Professionals do come back from license discipline. With the right approach, you may well be able to regain your professional license, standing, employment, and reputation, after license discipline. Depending on the profession and its rules, license suspensions often require the professional to take specific actions before the disciplinary authorities will lift the suspension. Indeed, the professional's attorney representative may have been able to play a role in determining reinstatement conditions. For example, mental-health treatment or addiction treatment may have been necessary and appropriate. Proof of its completion may be a condition for reinstatement. Professional license defense attorney Joseph D. Lento has the experience and expertise to help the professional who has suffered license discipline to gather evidence of rehabilitation. You may well want your license back. Attorney Lento may be able to help you get it back through proceedings proving rehabilitation.
Voluntary Recovery Programs
Professionals who face license issues because of alcohol and drug addictions, or mental or physical disorders, need to know that many professions and licensing bodies in specific states have voluntary recovery programs. If you face a license issue related to alcohol or drug abuse, a mental or physical condition, or perhaps other explainable causes, then you should consult available voluntary recovery programs. The New Jersey Board of Nursing's Recovery and Monitoring Program (RAMP) is an example. Pennsylvania's Voluntary Recovery Program for health professionals with diagnosed mental or physical disorders, including substance abuse disorder, is another example. New York's Professional Assistance Program is another example. Disciplinary authorities may not be especially compassionate toward professionals with license issues. But these programs lay the groundwork for compassionate and restorative treatment of professionals facing license issues. Learn about available programs.
Application and Renewal Issues with Professional Licensing
Professionals who have looming license issues also need to know that those issues can surface when the professional applies for a license or renews a license. License issues don't simply depend on complaints. Licensing bodies also require the professional to make disclosures when applying for a license or renewing a license. Licensing bodies may also investigate applicants for a new or renewed license. They may check databases on criminal convictions, restraining orders, bankruptcies, and other risk indicators. You may need skilled legal representation when applying for a license or renewing a license if you face these and similar issues.
National Professional License Defense Attorney
Professionals facing license issues have far too much at stake to do anything less than retain the best available license defense attorney. License defense is a special practice area, what lawyers call a boutique practice. Some areas of law require special skills and insider knowledge. Professional license defense is one of those areas where you don't want just any attorney. You don't want a general practitioner or even a civil litigator. You need an attorney who has the advocacy skills of a trial lawyer, a transactional lawyer's sensitivity and negotiation skills, and abundant experience representing professionals in license proceedings.
Professional license defense attorney Joseph D. Lento has the finest skills, the highest dedication, and the most relevant experience. He has successfully defended the licenses of many high-reputation, high-income, and other dedicated professionals in many different fields, everything from physicians and other medical professionals, lawyers, accountants, and engineers, to cosmetologists and hardworking trades professionals. Retain professional license defense attorney Joseph Lento and the Lento Law Firm for your license issue. Call 888.535.3686 now or use the online service.