You became a licensed veterinarian in Pennsylvania because you love animals--and because you wanted to help people with their animals. It wasn't an easy goal to reach. You've invested much time, money, and effort into studying and preparing for a career in veterinary medicine. And yet, with a single complaint made to the Pennsylvania State Board of Veterinary Medicine, all you've worked for could be put at risk.
Maybe it was a simple misunderstanding with a customer. Perhaps you made an honest mistake in treating someone's pet. Whatever the case, your livelihood hinges on your license, and if the Board decides to revoke your license due to allegations of misconduct, your career could be ruined--practically in an instant.
At times like these, you need skilled legal counsel from a qualified license defense attorney to make sure your interests are protected. The right attorney can make the difference between keeping your practice and having it shuttered. That's where the Lento Law Firm comes in. Attorney Joseph D. Lento offers professional license defense services to licensed veterinarians and other professionals throughout Pennsylvania who are facing the possibility of a suspension or revocation of their license. His Professional License Defense Team has a track record of success in resolving complaints in favor of his clients, and he and his team will work tirelessly to get you the best outcome possible. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to discuss your case.
What Types of Allegations Could Jeopardize a Veterinarian's License?
The State Board of Veterinary Medicine has established high standards of conduct for its licensees. Most accusations that could put your license at risk involve some alleged violation of these policies, endangering animals, or otherwise violating public trust. Common examples include, but are not limited to:
- Abuse or negligence toward animals. If you're accused of failing to provide proper care to an animal entrusted to you, or if you're accused of being abusive in any way, you could potentially lose your license.
- Substance abuse. Alcohol or drug abuse can severely impede your performance in the workplace and may lead to a revocation of your professional license by the Board.
- Improper record keeping. Maintaining accurate and up-to-date medical records is essential for veterinarians to ensure proper care and treatment of the animals. Failure to do so may land you in hot water with the Board.
- Criminal convictions. If you receive a conviction for certain criminal acts such as DUI, possession of controlled substances, fraud, theft, or other acts of moral turpitude, the Board may see it as grounds for revoking your license.
What Happens if I'm Accused of Wrongdoing?
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has created an organized procedure for processing complaints against licensed professionals such as veterinarians. Any member of the public can file such a complaint against you with the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs (BPOA). If you're accused of misconduct, your case will proceed through a set of methodical stages as follows.
To start, the BPOA assigns a Bureau of Enforcement and Investigation (BEI) investigator to gather evidence related to the complaint. This could involve speaking with the complainant or any other witnesses who were present at that time, procuring subpoenas for documents, and numerous other fact-finding activities. You will potentially be requested to submit a written answer to the complaint, as well as any evidence that could corroborate your narrative of what transpired.
If a BEI investigator has substantial evidence of misconduct against you, the BPOA might present a consent agreement for your consideration instead of moving forward with an official hearing. By signing this document, you pledge to accept whatever discipline is imposed by the licensing board without dispute. Although this action may not be suitable for everyone, it could be your best choice if disciplinary action is likely, and it gives your attorney an opportunity to negotiate for lenient terms, such as allowing you to keep your license or at least providing conditions for reinstatement of your license.
If you do not accept a consent agreement and the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs believes that it has enough evidence to prove misconduct, then the case could proceed to a formal hearing before a state examiner. At the hearing, you will have to show cause why your veterinarian license should remain in effect. After this process is finished, the Board will reach a conclusion as to what actions must be taken against you, including revoking your license if they deem it necessary.
Why You Need a Pennsylvania License Defense Attorney
The disciplinary process for licensed professionals in Pennsylvania is a complex and intimidating experience, and in truth, the odds aren't necessarily in your favor. The State Board of Veterinary Medicine has an obligation to protect the public (and their animals), and they can find you guilty of wrongdoing based only on a preponderance of the evidence. Situations like these require an experienced license defense attorney to protect your livelihood. Your attorney can provide legal advice at every step of the way, from the initial complaint to the hearing before the Board. At each stage, they will attempt to build an effective defense strategy on your behalf while negotiating with the BPOA for favorable terms. Your Pennsylvania license defense attorney can also work to ensure any consent agreement offers favorable terms for you, as well as defend you vigorously at the hearing. (However, in many cases, involving a good attorney early in the process may eliminate the need for a hearing altogether.)
If a complaint against you has triggered an investigation into your veterinarian license, your chances of keeping your license go up considerably with an experienced attorney in your corner. Joseph D. Lento and his Professional License Defense Team have the experience and skill needed to protect your license and effectively save your career. Contact the Lento Law Firm at (888) 535-3686 to schedule a consultation.