At Lucy McAllister Licensing Law, our professional licensing law firm is built around the principal of helping professionals protect the licenses that they have worked so hard to earn. Attorney Lucy S. McAllister has 30+ years of legal experience representing the interests of clients and helping them defend their professional licenses.
Our team understands how critically important a professional license is to an individual and will work diligently to get you through the disciplinary process with as little impact on your livelihood as possible. We are able to offer legal services to professionals experiencing licensing issues throughout California from our offices in San Francisco and San Jose, CA.
We understand the years of education and training that go into obtaining a professional license in California.
Even after all the years of study and learning the smallest details of your chosen profession, you have to take one or more qualifying exams in order to gain the right to practice. Then you need to meet the ongoing regulatory hurdles to maintain your license and your business. However, there are many threats to keeping that license, including those that are not obvious to most people.
If you have made a mistake that jeopardizes your license, you need the help of our firm as soon as you learn about the possibility of a disciplinary hearing. Complaints about unprofessional conduct or criminal convictions can lead to disaster if not managed properly. Our firm understands how to minimize the impact that disciplinary actions have on your livelihood.
Getting Involved in a Licensing Law Case as Early as Possible is Critical to the Best Resolution
Professional licenses in California are regulated by various licensing boards. These agencies oversee licensing requirements, administer qualifying examinations, and investigate allegations of unprofessional conduct. When a complaint is made by a client of the licensed professional or any third-party, there is an initial investigation by the responsible board. If the licensee is notified about the pending discipline action at this time, it may be possible to negotiate directly with a representative of the board before any further legal action is taken. This is a crucial part of the process because it is possible to resolve the matter with a private citation that remains “in-house” unless there is a written request for the information. The Law Offices of Lucy S. McAllister can act swiftly at this time to minimize the impact of your mistake.
If you are contacted by an investigator before you have received notification of a formal Accusation, it is critical that you do not speak with the investigator directly. You should know that anything that you say to these investigators can be used in the determination of whether the investigation will proceed and what penalties will be imposed. The investigators are on the side of the board, not you. By retaining a professional license defense attorney as soon as you are contacted or otherwise learn about the investigation, it is possible to stop the proceedings before things go any further. Lucy McAllister and her experienced legal team also can take the strain of the investigation off of you. Let us defend your career and your reputation.
There are many possible solutions that will end an investigation with minimum repercussions for the professional, whether that is the closing of the file or a private citation. Even if the censure is public and published on the board’s website or another information source, it is far better than the matter being referred to the Office of Attorney General for an administrative hearing. If the preliminary investigation reveals enough evidence to support the allegations, the board will issue a formal Accusation. At this point, the licensee can file a response and request a hearing.
Issues Which Trigger Impact to a California Professional License
There are many different acts that can trigger a disciplinary action, but overall, licensing boards want to ensure that professionals in California are practicing in an ethical manner, exhibiting skill and competence in their chosen career. If you have made one of these mistakes, you need to take the necessary actions to correct it.
Allegations that may lead to the opening of a file and pursuit of a matter by a licensing authority include:
- Ethics Violations
- Criminal charges or convictions, including driving under the influence (DUI)
- Sexual misconduct
- Fraud, forgery, misrepresentation, or other activities evidencing receipt
This list includes examples of unprofessional conduct that may lead to a formal license investigation and hearing. Each professional licensing board has some discretion over what matters receive greater focus.
The Complexities of the Legal and Administrative Process
The Law Offices of Lucy S. McAllister have the expertise that you need in the nuances of an administrative hearing and can ensure that a licensee presents a case that is strategically aligned with his or her goals. Although an administrative hearing shares some similarities, it has different rules of evidence and procedure that must be followed. Leading up to the hearing, there is an opportunity to engage in the discovery process in which a licensee can get documents and information from the regulatory board, but this exchange is not as extensive as a civil or criminal case. A party will need to subpoena records and get orders for depositions of witnesses and parties to the proceeding. The hearing itself takes place before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) and although the judge’s recommendation at the conclusion of the hearing is not binding on the board, it does carry a lot of weight. Therefore, it is important to present an effective case, which we know how to do.
The complaint that leads to a disciplinary action by the licensing board also may lead to criminal charges. A licensee is best served by having an attorney who is experienced in criminal law in order to manage every aspect of the allegations. Lucy S. McAllister and our firm have spent years fighting criminal charges to great success. Having the assistance of counsel who can manage multiple fronts of the same battle ensures that issues are not overlooked, which is critical if you want to keep your license.
On Probation and Revoked or Suspended Licenses: It Is Never Over Until We Say It Is
If you have already been through the administrative process and now face a period of probation or your license has been suspended or revoked, there remain options available to you. We can work with you to file a petition for modification or reinstatement. It is important to review any comments of attachments that the board may have included with the disciplinary order. Although we will have to wait until the minimum probationary period is over, we can use this time to build your case for a reduction in the time that you cannot practice. It is important to remember that the process is not meant to be punitive. Everybody makes mistakes, it is important that you learn from them and move forward. The various boards are focused on the ethical and competent practice by licensed professionals and we will compile all the evidence necessary to show that whatever mistakes you may have made in the past, they will not be repeated.
At The Law Offices of Lucy S. McAllister, we know how much time and dedication that it took to obtain your professional license. However, you have done something that violates the terms of your license and need to act quickly. The threat to your license by a disciplinary action is something that requires immediate action. We are committed to working with you and the professional licensing board to find a solution that will get you back to work as soon as possible. By contacting us as soon as you learn about the disciplinary action, even if it is only a possibility, we may be able to prevent the public disclosure of the accusations.
Please call the Law Offices of Lucy McAllister toll free at (877) 280-9944 or at our San Francisco office at (408) 947-5946 or in San Jose at (415) 939-9396 to schedule an initial consultation to discuss your specific case.