A career in landscape architecture can be a very fulfilling career that allows you to create and spend time in beautiful outdoor spaces. It is also part of your job to make sure these newly beautified spaces are also safe to use—whether they are public or private spaces. The public puts their trust in you, and for this reason, your profession requires oversight and licensing to ensure that you're qualified for this important job.
Licensing can reassure the public, but it can also mean that even a single complaint can put your license in jeopardy by triggering an investigation and possibly some sort of disciplinary action. Having your license revoked can end your career and can be caused by a variety of reasons. If you find yourself in this situation, you will want to understand the procedures you will likely face and what options are available to you.
One of the very first steps you should take is hiring experienced license defense attorney Joseph D. Lento to look out for your interests and your rights throughout the entire process. The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team can help licensed professionals nationwide protect their license and their livelihoods from adverse actions from their licensing boards.
Who Handles Investigations Against Landscape Architects?
This can vary from state to state, but the disciplinary procedure will be managed by the same state licensing authority that granted your landscape architect's license. As an example, the New Jersey State Board of Architects will oversee the process in that state. In New York State, the Architecture division of the Office of Professions would be in charge. The names may be different, but the structures and procedures in your state will be very similar, and Attorney Lento can help you in any state.
What Kinds of Complaints Could Result in Losing My License?
In order to assure the public that landscape architects will be at the highest levels of ethical and professional excellence, your local state licensing body will have established a code of conduct that everyone with a professional license must follow. Most offenses that lead to an investigation will be related to violating that code of conduct or violating the public trust in some manner.
A common example of an offense that is against the code of conduct for landscape architects and could trigger an investigation that can put your license on the line is fraudulent or deceitful practices. This could include anything from false advertising, charging for services not rendered, or misrepresenting your qualifications. There are many other examples, and you should make sure you're familiar with your code of conduct to make sure you aren't violating it.
Acting outside the scope of your license by offering services that are beyond what your license allows could result in losing your license.
Any kind of sexual misconduct or harassment can also be a threat to your professional license. Making inappropriate advances toward a colleague, customer, or employee can quickly trigger an investigation and possible disciplinary action against you.
Substance use disorder, whether you're caught under the influence on the job or not, can call into question your competency with your licensing board.
Criminal convictions, even if they are unrelated to your work, can cause a major risk to your license in most states. Crimes of moral turpitude are particularly problematic.
These are just a few examples and do not cover all of the possible claims that can result in losing your landscape license, but they should give you an idea of the variety of offenses that can wind up costing you your license.
What Will the Disciplinary Process Be Like?
There will be variations from state to state, but in most cases, the process will look pretty similar. The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team understands the specifics for each state.
Almost all disciplinary proceedings are initiated by someone filing a formal complaint about you to the licensing body in your state. The complaint can come from a client, a colleague, an employer, or any other person with whom you have had contact in the practice of your profession.
Once the complaint has been filed, the board will review the complaint to determine if it's legitimate, credible, or whether it even falls within the purview of the board.
Once the complaint has been reviewed, and if it has been found to warrant further action, the governing board will open an investigation. In this stage, witnesses may be interviewed, your statement will be collected, and records and other evidence may be subpoenaed. The complaint could be dropped at this point if the investigation doesn't turn up enough evidence to proceed. Experienced Attorney Joseph D. Lento can negotiate with the board to possibly get the complaint dismissed at this point.
If the process moves forward, the board may offer to negotiate a consent decree, which is a binding agreement in which you admit to wrongdoing and voluntarily submit to the board's recommended disciplinary action. The Lento Law Firm Team will be crucial in navigating this step.
If there is no consent decree, a formal hearing will be held before the board or an administrative law judge. An attorney may be present to represent you at the hearing.
The hearing will determine whether to find you at fault and decide whether to suspend or revoke your license. Other disciplinary actions are also possible. They could levy fines against you, put you on probationary status, implement some conditional agreements, or hand out a formal reprimand. Even if you keep your license, disciplinary action taken by the board will become a matter of public record.
Contact the Lento Law Firm Today
Representing yourself is never in your best interest. You will certainly be better off if you reach out to Attorney Joseph D. Lento as soon as you receive notice of a claim. The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team has a long track record of success. Contact us online or at (888) 535-3686 at the first sign of trouble, and your interests will be vigorously defended.