Defending a Professional License

Defending a Professional License

Certain professions require a high level of skill and a degree of expertise to be able to perform the necessary duties. Because of this, several states demand these professionals obtain licenses to ensure the standards of service are met. Various entities are in charge of issuing and maintaining these professional licenses.

Most often people think of medical professionals like doctors, nurses, pharmacists or dentists when they think of licensed professionals. However, several other professions also require licenses, such as lawyers, accountants, real estate brokers and professional educators. Without these certifications, workers cannot practice their jobs.

The boards and agencies responsible for setting the standards of the industry also are in charge of the issuance and revocation of the licenses. This means the boards can impose disciplinary actions, conduct hearings and even suspend a person's license, although there are ways to appeal these actions.

To obtain a professional license, a person first must prove he or she meets the requirements to earn the license, such as the educational attainment and references. Additionally, he or she must complete and pass a background check. If the application is denied, that action can be appealed.

Once a license is obtained, some professions require the person to maintain it. This could mean having to continue education classes, regularly attend seminars or various other requirements. If a person fails to meet them, he or she could face a disciplinary action.

Some professions also require a person to disclose if he or she is charged with a criminal offense or convicted of the crime. Simply being charged, or even failing to disclose the charge, could result in a disciplinary action. The licensee would have the right to appeal the action with the assistance of his or her attorney.

Disciplinary proceedings can occur as a result of a variety of scenarios. For instance, if a patient or another person who used the licensed professional for a service alleges he or she is incompetent or breached his or her ethical duties, the licensing board could investigate the situation.

In these instances, the licensing board could require the person appear at a hearing in which the board could impose sanctions on the individual's license. This could include putting the person on probation, restricting the services he or she could offer and suspending or revoking the license completely.

If a board hearing is held, the licensee and his or her attorney have the right to appear. During most formal licensing board hearings, both sides will present their arguments. Evidence can be presented and witnesses can testify for both sides. The hearing operates similar to a civil hearing.

Once the hearing is complete, the board or agency will determine if any disciplinary actions should be taken against the person and if so what they should be. The board could have the license suspended, revoked or permanently taken away. Additionally, a person could be fined or reprimanded in other ways.

Fighting a disciplinary action, no matter how minor it may seem, is critical to licensed professionals. When a person is reprimanded, it becomes public. This means potential clients or patients could view the information. Working with an attorney to defend your professional license is important to your career.

Veronica Bayo Clifford is a criminal defense and immigration attorney at Clifford Law Group in Raleigh, North Carolina. Veronica and her husband Nicholas Clifford founded the firm to advocate on behalf of men, women and students facing various charges and assist them with administrative matters, including general license defense. Veronica also is skilled in handling immigration matters, including visas, employment and immigration and deportation.


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