Becoming a licensed professional geologist in Pennsylvania is a hard-earned career indeed. You've invested countless hours in study and practice to get where you are today. At the same time, your career is one involving a great deal of public trust since you must make sure the information you provide is clear and accurate. For that reason, all it may take is a single mistake, misunderstanding, or misstep to put your license in jeopardy.
When a professional geologist's license is under investigation, the Pennsylvania State Registration Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists will take the appropriate steps to protect public safety. Unfortunately, this often means an accusation of misconduct can escalate into disciplinary action—up to including suspending or revoking your license, and thereby ending your career.
The best way to avoid this terrible outcome is to hire an experienced Pennsylvania licensed defense attorney at the first sign of trouble. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his professional license defense team have extensive experience with disciplinary matters such as yours, and they will work tirelessly to get you the favorable resolution you deserve. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to discuss your case.
What Allegations Could Endanger Your Professional Geologist's License?
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania holds its licensed geologists to high standards of ethical and professional excellence. The majority of offenses that result in license revocation are due to a breach of the accepted code of conduct. Examples may include:
- Acting outside the scope of your license. If you are suspected of performing practices beyond the scope of your geologist license, disciplinary action could be taken against you.
- Fraud or deceit. If you are accused of falsifying your credentials or committing deception of any kind, the repercussions can be substantial--up to the loss of your license.
- Failing to act in the interest of public safety and the environment. If it is determined that your actions have recklessly or negligently endangered people or the environment, you could face disciplinary measures.
- Sexual misconduct or harassment. If someone alleges that you have sexually harassed clients, coworkers, etc., or if you've been accused of inappropriate sexual relationships, your license could be placed at risk.
- Criminal convictions. If you've been convicted of certain crimes, especially those involving moral turpitude, it could possibly disqualify you from professional licensure in the state.
What Does the Disciplinary Process Look Like for Pennsylvania Professional Geologists?
Pennsylvania has established an effective, streamlined system for members of the public to file complaints against any professionally licensed individual, including geologists. Such complaints are handled by the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs (BPOA). Once a complaint is submitted against you, your case will proceed through various stages as follows.
When a complaint is made to the BPOA, an investigator from their Bureau of Enforcement and Investigation (BEI) will be assigned to look for evidence to corroborate the allegations. This may include interviewing the complainant or witnesses, issuing subpoenas for documents, etc. You may also be asked to submit a written response to the complaint. If the BEI investigator discovers insufficient evidence to back the complaint, the matter may be dismissed at this point.
If the BEI investigator uncovers substantial evidence of misconduct against you, the Board might suggest signing a consent agreement in lieu of holding an official hearing. In this agreement, you will willingly accept the disciplinary measures proposed by the Board. Although signing a consent agreement isn't always the most desirable outcome, it may be the best way to mitigate penalties and avoid further career damage if disciplinary action is inevitable. An experienced licensed attorney can often negotiate for favorable terms in a consent agreement, including allowing you to keep your license or providing a path to reinstatement.
If a consent agreement is not reached, you will be summoned to a formal hearing before a state examiner to show cause why you should be allowed to keep your license. To ensure that your interests are adequately represented and protected, we strongly recommend having an attorney represent you at this hearing. Upon its completion, the Board will make their decision as to what punitive steps they deem necessary, including revoking your license if deemed appropriate.
Why Hire a Pennsylvania License Defense Attorney
If you find yourself facing a disciplinary proceeding for alleged violations of your geologist license, hiring an experienced licensed defense attorney affords you the best chance of a favorable outcome. While most licensing boards attempt to give a fair hearing, the fact is the Board's job is to protect public safety, not the interest of the licensee. They have broad authority to issue disciplinary action, and they have a low burden of proof to decide that disciplinary action is in order--effectively putting you at a disadvantage from the moment a complaint is filed.
Hiring a knowledgeable lawyer helps level the playing field to help ensure your side of the story is properly heard and all supporting evidence considered. Your attorney will be able to explain the legal process and potential consequences more clearly, as well as negotiate on your behalf with the BPOA and the Board for dismissal of the complaint or minimized penalties. Your chances of keeping your license go up considerably with the right attorney in your corner.
After investing considerable effort and energy into your career as a Pennsylvania professional geologist, it would be devastating to have your career unfairly derailed by an accusation or a complaint. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his legal team are here to protect your licensure through diligent counsel and skilled negotiation. Don't wait until you're summoned to a formal hearing; hiring an attorney at the first sign of trouble will improve your chances of obtaining a fair and favorable resolution. Contact the Lento Law Firm at (888) 535-3686 to schedule a consultation.