You've worked hard and long to build a career as a licensed professional geologist in New York, You bring a deep sense of passion to your job, and you strive to be as accurate in your conclusions as possible. But no matter how careful you are, there may come a time when your license is put under investigation--whether by a misunderstanding, misstep, or allegation of misconduct. The New York Office of the Professions (OP) takes such allegations seriously, and they have broad authority to issue discipline based only on a preponderance of the evidence. If your license is revoked, your career is basically over.
In these cases, it's critical to have the help of a knowledgeable and experienced New York professional license defense attorney--someone who knows how to respond to license investigations and negotiate for favorable outcomes. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his legal team have extensive experience with disciplinary issues and have a long track record of success with cases like yours. They understand the license disciplinary process and know the right strategies to minimize the damage to your career. To discuss your case, contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686.
What Types of Allegations Could Jeopardize Your Professional Geologist's License?
The state of New York insists upon top-notch ethical and professional practices from its licensed geologists. In most cases, the loss of a geologist's license occurs as a result of an alleged violation of these standards. Examples may include:
- Acting outside the scope of your license. If you are found to be engaging in activities outside the boundaries of your geologist license, disciplinary measures may be taken against you.
- Fraud or deceit. Examples may include falsifying credentials, false advertising, tampering with data, etc.
- Failing to act in the interest of public safety and the environment. If an investigation finds that your behavior has caused considerable physical or environmental harm due to negligence or carelessness, you could be subjected to disciplinary action.
- Sexual misconduct or harassment. It's possible to have your license revoked if someone has brought up accusations of sexual harassment or inappropriate sexual relationships with clients, coworkers, and others.
- Criminal convictions. Being convicted of certain crimes may jeopardize your license, particularly crimes of moral turpitude.
How Does the License Disciplinary Process Work in New York?
In New York State, the NYSED Office of the Professions regulates most licensed professionals - including geologists. The OP has designed a systematic process to investigate and penalize any misconduct allegations made against these individuals. In most cases, the disciplinary process begins with a complaint filed by a member of the public with the OP. If you are a professional geologist accused of misconduct or a violation, your case will be guided through the following set of stages.
When a complaint is submitted, the OP will commence an inquiry to decide if there is enough evidence to back up the complaint. Throughout this stage, they may converse with the complainant and any supposed witnesses, attain proper documentation and evidence, study pertinent facts and regulations, and identify whether disciplinary action needs to be taken. If the OP investigation turns up insufficient evidence of wrongdoing, it will typically dismiss the complaint at this point with no further action. Conversely, if they do find evidence, they will forward the matter to the Department of Education Board of Regents for further review.
If the Board believes there is sufficient evidence to back up the complaint, they may make an offer of a consent order. This is essentially a contract between you and the NYSED in which you agree to certain stipulations regarding disciplinary action. It's important to understand that if you choose this route, you will effectively be admitting guilt and, in effect, have a disciplinary action against you on record--which means that it's not advisable in all cases. However, if disciplinary action is inevitable, a consent order may be your best option, especially if you have a good attorney to negotiate for lenient terms, including a pathway for reinstatement of your license.
Hearing and Final Determination
If your case reaches the hearing stage, you will be summoned to the board to present evidence to disprove the complaint and/or show cause why you should be allowed to keep your license. Having an attorney advocating for you in this hearing could have a significant impact on the end result. Upon completion of the hearing, the Board will make a final determination regarding your guilt or innocence and decide on disciplinary actions--which may range from formal reprimands and fines to a full revocation of your license.
Why You Need a Good License Defense Attorney
If your professional geologist license is under investigation, you need to understand that you have no guaranteed presumption of innocence. The OP has a duty to protect the public at all costs, and the Board of Regents has broad authority to issue discipline based on a preponderance of the evidence (i.e., with no need to provide conclusive proof). As long as they are at least 51 percent convinced that you violated their code of conduct, they have the right to revoke your license.
For this reason, it's absolutely essential that you hire a good licensed defense attorney who is well-versed in the complex rules and regulations of professional licensing. Your lawyer will be able to develop an appropriate legal strategy to ensure that your rights are protected and help you navigate through the disciplinary process with as little damage to your reputation and career as possible. A good attorney can review the complaint against you, gather evidence and witnesses to refute the complaint, and negotiate with the Board for leniency or even to have the complaint dropped. Your odds of keeping your license go up considerably if you have the right attorney helping you.
You've worked too hard to build your career as a geologist to have it derailed by an allegation of wrongdoing. Let Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his team explore the options for getting you a favorable resolution and saving your license. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to schedule a consultation.