The licensing defense process in California, begins when you receive a Statement of Issues (or Accusation) by your licensing board indicating you are under investigation. This is a serious matter for you because, by filing on Accusation, your licensing body, based on advice from it’s legal counsel, has already decided that it believes it has good grounds to seek the suspension or revocation of your License, or to impose other discipline upon you.
You have typically 60 days to file a Notice of Defense to protect your right to request a hearing to defend yourself. Once the case is filed with the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH), your licensing case proceeds into the “discovery” phase of the investigation during which the issues framed in the Statement of Issues will be fully evaluated by the Board’s attorney.
Once the discovery phase is completed by the Board, you may be asked to attend a Settlement Conference at which the Board’s attorney may extend a “stipulated settlement” offer to you outlining the conditions you must accept for the settlement agreement to proceed including costs you will have to pay, any sanctions, probationary requirements etc.
If you don’t accept this settlement offer, your case will proceed to an Administrative Hearing. Administrative hearings are not the same kind of hearing you would get in a regular court or even small claims court, with full discovery and rights to appeal. These are more similar to a trial before a judge in Superior Court, with the State Board or Agency represented by its attorney or the Attorney General, fully prepared with exhibits and witnesses and legal briefs to present to the Administrative Law Judge. At the Administrative Hearing, you will appear before an Administrative Judge and will be asked to defend your case.
The judge has up to 30 days to adjudicate your case after which your licensing board has 100 days to accept, modify or reject (rehear) the Administrative Judge’s decision. IA California licensee whose license has been suspended, revoked or denied reinstatement may seek judicial review of the board’s decision by filing what is called a petition for Writ of Mandate (“Writ of Administrative Mandamus”) in Superior Court under Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) section 1094.5. The time for filing an appeal depends on a number of factors, but it can be as little as 30 days from the order of denial, suspension or revocation. If you license is ultimately revoked, you cannot reapply for your license until one year after receiving written notification of the Administrative Law Judge’s decision.