Professional License Defense Attorney in California
Many jobs in California require professional licenses. Just a few examples are real estate agents, insurance brokers, dentists, doctors, nurses, lawyers, and accountants. Years of study, exams, and continuing education are required for professional licenses. Local and state government agencies treat licensure seriously and will suspend or revoke the licenses of professionals who commit acts of misconduct or fail to continue their education as agreed.
Losing a professional license can affect more than your ability to continue working in your career. It becomes a matter of public record, which can make it hard for you to get a new job. Your suspended or revoked license can affect your personal relationships, especially when it comes to dating, adoption, or child custody. Depending on the circumstances, you might even end up discussing it in the newspaper or on the six o’clock news. This can embarrass not only you but also your loved ones.
Protect Your Professional License
There are a number of reasons someone can lose their professional license in California, and not all of them relate to misconduct on the job. For example, drunken driving or other criminal acts when a licensee is “off the clock” can lead to a suspended or revoked professional license, or other restrictions, probation terms, or requirements. Felony convictions are particularly problematic and require the assistance of an attorney for healthcare professionals and other licensed professionals.
Besides crimes committed while off duty, these are other common reasons that someone may lose a California license.
- Omitting information or supplying false information on professional paperwork. This could be an original license application, a renewal license form, or paperwork handled in the course of your job. This situation is treated seriously even if your information was omitted or incorrectly submitted by accident.
- If you have a professional license disciplined in another state, such as Texas, California will likely seek to take action based upon laws that allow it to take action for out-of-state discipline.
- Mismanaging property, money, or paperwork on behalf of your clients, customers, students, or patients.
- Failure to pay child support as ordered by a court.
- Not paying local, state, or federal taxes as required.
- Sending another person to take a vocational licensing exam or cheating on the exam.
- Having improper romantic, sexual, or financial relationships with customers, clients, students, and patients.
- Failure to perform your duties pursuant to the standard of care can result in repeated acts of negligence, gross negligence, or incompetence-related allegations.
These are all the professional licenses that attorney Scott J Harris defends for his clients:
- Architects, Engineers, and Land Surveyors
- Automotive Repair Bureau
- Barbering and Cosmetology
- Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS)
- Board of Psychiatry
- Child Daycare
- Contractor (CSLB)
- Department of Financial Protection and Innovation
- Department of Fish and Wildlife
- Department of Social Services
- Funeral Director
- Insurance Agents
- Insurance Brokers
- Medical Billing
- Medical Board
- Notary Public
- Nursing – Board of Vocational Nursing and Board of Registered Nursing
- Occupational Therapist
- Physical Therapist
- Physician Assistant
- Podiatrist (DPM)
- Real Estate
- Respiratory Therapist
- Schools and Daycares
- Social Rehabilitation
- State Bar
- Structural Pest Control
- Veterinary Doctor
- Veterinary Technician
What is a Licensing Defense Attorney?
While you have a right to an attorney in any legal matter, only in criminal cases will an attorney actually be provided to you by the Government. For all other matters, including professional license defense before a state licensing agency, you have to hire your own attorney.
A professional licensing defense attorney is an attorney like Scott Harris, who has a niche and focused practice dedicated to defending professionals and their livelihoods. A competent licensing defense attorney like Mr. Harris will have experience dealing with the specific agency that issued the license and its defense attorneys, may they be with the California Department of Justice or internal attorneys employed directly by the agencies themselves.
A licensing defense attorney can assist you at every juncture of your case, from licensing applications to defense of Accusations, petitions for reinstatement or termination of probation, and in defense of investigations conducted by the agencies that issue the license.
What are Some Types of Defense Strategies Available for Your California Professional License Defense Case?
There are myriad types of license defense strategies available, but these are the most common ones used by a lawyer for nurses and other licensed professionals.
- Innocence: a professional license defense attorney can argue that their client did not commit the acts of misconduct for which they have been accused. However, simply saying that you are innocent is not enough. A good vocational license and healthcare defense lawyer will call witnesses to support your claim of innocence, call the integrity of those opposing you into question, and gather other pieces of evidence, such as paperwork.
- Hiring experts: it may be possible to hire qualified experts in your field to opine about the charges against you. Experts can be used to argue that your conduct was not below the standard of care or did not amount to a basis to discipline your license.
- Mitigation: Often, the allegations made against a licensee are, in fact, true. In this case, instead of trying to prove them false, a competent licensing defense attorney will work to show mitigation and rehabilitation. In short, you need to argue why, in spite of the violations, you deserve to keep your license. Good professional license defense attorneys can argue on your behalf, articulating all the reasons you deserve to keep your license, what you have done to remediate the issues, gain further training and education, pay restitution, or otherwise rehabilitate yourself.
- Constitutional violations: even if you have not been accused of a crime, your livelihood is at stake. A California professional license defense attorney can find out whether your rights have been violated as a result of the acts of investigators or whether witnesses have been coerced into saying things against you.
What Happens After a Revocation or Suspension
If your license is suspended, you can practice your profession again after a certain amount of time has passed. However, you will usually be subjected to a probation period where you will have to meet with licensing professionals, submit paperwork, and perhaps complete continuing education (CE) credits. For example, the California State Board of Pharmacy sometimes suspends a pharmacist’s license for 90 days and requires five years of probation. A vocational license defense lawyer can appeal this decision on your behalf.
A revoked license in any profession is more serious and means you are barred from working in that position. An appeal and a new application are required, and there are no guarantees. In many cases, you may not even be entitled to a hearing.
As we discussed earlier, there are many aftereffects of losing a professional license. Your best course of action is to consult with vocational license defense lawyers, as many timelines apply to appeal the license board’s decision. For example, insurance agents or insurance brokers usually have 15 to 30 days to appeal a decision to revoke or suspend their license. Most professions have up to 30 days.
Understanding Professional License Applications & Your Background
Getting a professional license is an involved process because the health and safety of the general public are often at stake. Education is just one of the many steps that must be taken. The specific requirements for a vocational license application vary depending on the profession, but these are the general steps.
- Complete any state-mandated educational programs. This could range from roughly 200 hours for insurance agents, to two to four years of college for nurses, to seven years of college, and law school for attorneys.
- Get fingerprinted. Criminal convictions, especially felonies, can preclude you from getting any vocational license. Juvenile court cases do not count. However, if you have a criminal record as an adult, it’s a good idea to talk to a licensed defense professional as early as possible in your career journey. Getting copies of your information from the California Department of Justice and the FBI is a prudent idea if you’ve been arrested or convicted of a crime.
- Pass the required licensure exam. Some professions, such as law, medicine, and insurance, only let you fail the exam a certain number of times before temporarily or permanently barring you from taking it again.
- Fill out the appropriate vocational license application. Some applications, such as to become a doctor or a pharmacist, require official college transcripts. So, plan ahead. Also, make sure that all the information you submit is accurate and complete. Mistakes or omissions can lead to license suspensions or revocations and even criminal charges in extreme cases.
- Once approved, stay on top of any financial, paperwork, and continuing education (CE) requirements. For example, the vocational licenses for insurance agents and insurance brokers are good for three years at a time. Otherwise, your professional license could be declared inactive — which also would bar you from working in your job.
Experienced California License Defense Attorneys Protecting Your Professional Licenses
Scott Harris has a unique background of working as both a prosecutor and as a professional license defense attorney. Therefore, he knows what questions the representatives of state and local governmental agencies will ask. He is prepared to give you the best vocational license defense possible, even if you, as a client, technically did something unethical or even outright illegal.
Mr. Harris was a Deputy Attorney General with the California Department of Justice and a Liaison Deputy for the Licensing Section of the Office of the Attorney General to the California Board of Accountancy and the Court Reporters Board of California. During his career in those agencies, he prosecuted hundreds of professional licensing cases. Since 2010, Mr. Harris has had private law practice dedicated to defending professionals just like you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I lose my professional license due to an accusation?
Depending on what the accusation is. If you are unsure of how to respond, contact a professional California license defense attorney today.
What is the process of an accusation investigation for licensed professionals like?
Once the complaint is filed, you will get a formal notice. Then the complaint will be reviewed by the Medical Board and they will ask you for a response. After the response is received by the Board, they will evaluate the entire case as part of the investigation. They will provide recommendations to another committee who will also review the case. Once the Board has made a decision, you will be informed if there is any disciplinary action that will need to be taken. If you have received a violation against your healthcare license, contact S J Harris Law today.
Should I hire defense lawyers if my license has been suspended?
Simply being accused of some sort of wrongdoing can result in a license suspension in many circumstances. To legally practice your chosen job and earn a living, you must have a license. If you hold a professional license and are currently undergoing an investigation, you will need the assistance of an expert attorney to keep your record clean and, if necessary, to get your professional license reinstated.