Obtaining a New Jersey professional land surveyor license requires a significant investment of time, effort, and resources. Through years of education and hands-on experience, you have worked to build a career and build trust with your clients. Consequently, it can be extremely distressing when someone accuses you of misconduct and puts your license under scrutiny.
As an expert in this field, you are aware of the considerable responsibilities that accompany your role. Your professional guidance can profoundly impact people's lives, which is why your occupation is subject to stringent regulations. The New Jersey State Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors takes all allegations of misconduct very seriously, and if they investigate and find evidence of misconduct, they have the power to suspend or revoke your license with a low burden of proof, effectively derailing your career.
If you find yourself in this situation, your best hope of keeping your license is to engage the services of a skilled New Jersey professional license defense attorney as soon as possible. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his accomplished License Defense Team have a proven track record in assisting clients with licensing issues, consistently delivering the most robust defense while minimizing any potential harm to their licenses or professional careers. To discuss your case, contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686.
Potential Allegations that Could Threaten Your License
In New Jersey, disciplinary actions against your license typically stem from violations of the state's professional conduct standards or breaches of public trust, which cast doubt on your ability to perform your job reliably. Examples include, but are not limited to:
- Gross negligence or incompetence: This could involve critical survey errors, failure to communicate vital information to clients, or compromising public safety in any way.
- Fraudulent or false advertising: This may include making undeliverable promises, promoting services you do not provide (or lack qualifications for), etc.
- Offering or performing services beyond the scope of your license.
- Permitting unlicensed employees to perform tasks reserved for licensed land surveyors.
- Noncompliance with federal, state, and/or local safety standards and regulations.
- Any other behavior, professional or personal, that casts doubt on your ability to perform your job safely.
New Jersey's License Disciplinary Process
For licensed land surveyors in New Jersey, the disciplinary process typically begins with a complaint filed with the State Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors. Any member of the public may file such a complaint, but in most cases, it will come from a client, a colleague, or an entity that is directly or indirectly impacted by your services. Once the Board receives the complaint against you, the disciplinary process will proceed through several stages.
Request for Response
The process starts with a formal notification from the Board outlining the allegations against you and allowing you time to submit a detailed written response. Do not underestimate this step, as it offers the first opportunity to present your perspective of what happened. A well-written response, especially when accompanied by supporting evidence, may result in the complaint being dismissed without further action.
Next, the Board will establish a Preliminary Evaluation Committee (PEC) to further investigate the complaint. As part of their duties, the PEC may appoint an investigator to collect evidence supporting the allegations. This may involve interviewing the complainant and witnesses, examining documents, and requiring you to provide sworn testimony, if necessary.
If the PEC finds enough evidence to support the complaint, the Board may choose to negotiate a consent order with you instead of scheduling a formal hearing. This agreement, between you and the Board, involves voluntarily complying with their disciplinary directives. Before signing this binding contract, it is strongly recommended that you consult with an attorney to be certain the terms are fair and that signing it is in your best interests. If disciplinary action is unavoidable, an attorney can negotiate for more favorable terms in the consent order, including retaining your license or outlining a path to reinstatement.
Should the process advance to a hearing, the Board will file an official complaint against you and summon you to appear before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to explain why your license should remain valid. It is strongly advised to have legal representation during this hearing due to the potential impact on your livelihood. After hearing both sides, the ALJ will make a decision, either in your favor or against you. If applicable, they will also recommend disciplinary actions to the Board, which may include suspending or revoking your license.
The Importance of Hiring a Skilled Attorney Promptly
The ramifications of a professional license investigation can be severe, and unlike in criminal trials, the Board does not presume your innocence. Their primary concern is to protect the public, and they can impose disciplinary action based solely on a preponderance of evidence against you. As such, enlisting the help of an experienced attorney specializing in license defense could mean the difference between keeping your license and losing it. A competent attorney can often negotiate a resolution during the investigation's initial stages, thereby avoiding a hearing and preserving your license. They can also negotiate favorable terms in a consent order and, if necessary, provide a strong defense at a formal hearing.
If you are a professional land surveyor in New Jersey accused of misconduct, do not jeopardize your career by navigating the disciplinary process on your own. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his team are dedicated to defending your rights and diligently working to safeguard both your license and career. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at (888) 535-3686 to schedule a consultation, or use our online form.