You’ve worked hard to get this far in life. Sadly, your efforts could quickly be torn down with a single accusation. This threat pervades every day in the workforce, especially if you work in a state-regulated field such as law, child care, or real estate.
The good news? Options exist even when the chance of retaining your license seems minimal. With strong legal defense, it’s possible to avoid disciplinary action from your profession’s state board.
Arizona’s Stewart Law Group offers comprehensive services for the state’s finest professionals. Our efforts could protect you from professional censure or license revocation. We will work to help you sustain your hard-earned reputation as a trusted professional.
At the Stewart Law Group, we appreciate the contributions of a wide range of Arizona professionals. We assist the following types of employees and business owners with license defense:
Clearly, our firm accommodates a vast array of occupations. Each licensing board maintains unique procedures and requires sensitive legal representation. We’ve successfully handled a range of complicated board complaints, and are prepared to assist you with your current ordeal.
State-authorized boards oversee a variety of professions in Arizona. Examples include:
The selection and obligations of various professional boards are outlined by several chapters in the Arizona Revised Statutes.
These statutes also address administrative duty, immunity from liability, reinstatement requirements, and several other concerns.
The Arizona Revised Statutes also address other non-health professions and the potential need for regulation. According to Arizona law, the exclusive purpose of regulating an occupation is “protecting the public interest.” Regulation only occurs if the state determines that a lack of regulation would endanger the public — and that public interests cannot be met through private certification. When you are being investigated, your best interests are not necessarily being considered, which is why strong legal representation is so important.
Arizona’s finest professionals face a broad spectrum of allegations — many of which may be entirely unfounded. Complaints can be submitted orally or in written form. In select cases, the complainant’s identity can be kept private.
The following are just a few examples of accusations in various fields:
Complaints may also address rude conduct. Typically, this does not result in censure or license suspension, especially if the incident is isolated. However, some state licensing boards maintain separate divisions to address these concerns. For example, the State Bar of Arizona addresses less severe instances of unprofessional conduct through a special program. In select cases, Arizona’s State Bar may resolve disputes between lawyers and clients.
Whether you’re currently dealing with accusations of sexual misconduct, fraud, or misrepresentation, it’s crucial that you work with a respected license defense attorney. Your career depends on it. A mere complaint can cause professional catastrophe, even if you succeed in retaining your license.
Remember, your profession’s board or regulatory department does not have your best interests at heart. You are never guaranteed due process. In fact, it’s typically the board’s objective to protect the consumer. Don’t rely on it to safeguard your career!
In addition to improving your chances of an acceptable outcome, a skilled license defense attorney can help you handle the day-to-day aspects of your work. Stressed by the details of your case, you may otherwise let your business suffer. The right attorney can grant you valuable peace of mind during this ordeal, allowing you to focus on other urgent matters.
The concerns outlined above are particularly relevant for lawyers facing license review. Yes, you’re familiar with the local legal system, and yes, you’re confident in your abilities. That doesn’t make it wise to defend yourself. Whether you work in family law, personal injury, or any other practice area, your clients deserve your full attention during this difficult time. Let somebody else take on the burden of license defense.
Call an attorney as soon as you suspect allegations have been made that could threaten your career. Early on, you’ll meet with your lawyer to discuss pending accusations, career history, and other relevant matters. You should come away from this consultation feeling confident about your prospects. However, your attorney should also alert you to the significant challenges that lie ahead.
Once a complaint has been filed, you should receive notice from the board or department responsible for your investigation. You may also receive a request for a written response.
Upon establishment of jurisdiction, an investigator will be assigned to your case. This person may seek employee files, police records, or third-party information in an attempt to discover the details surrounding the complaint. The investigator may also contact the person responsible for the complaint. In many cases this person’s name is a matter of public record. Occasionally, however, their identity will be kept private, especially if the department deems that accusations could place the complainant at personal risk.
For small business owners, complaint investigation often includes practice observation and thorough compliance inspections. It is therefore important to work with an attorney familiar with your industry to determine what, exactly, could constitute a breach of compliance.
Once the investigator has reviewed evidence and interviewed witnesses, this information is presented to the department or board responsible for licensing. The department then determines whether disciplinary action is warranted. Administrative action will only be pursued if a preponderance of evidence indicates the licensee’s guilt.
Upon reviewing evidence, the department may elect to write a letter of concern. Although this letter is technically ‘non-disciplinary,’ it remains a matter of public record and can therefore harm your career. If future complaints arise, the letter of concern may convince the department to revoke your license.
If your licensing board or department deems a complaint valid, you may suffer disciplinary action. Depending on the case, this could involve one or more of the following consequences:
Faced with the potential for these consequences, professionals may elect to voluntarily suspend their license. This doesn’t result in a permanent loss of license; rather, it’s viewed as an opportunity for self-improvement prior to reinstatement. Often, however, professionals voluntarily surrender their license when fighting the complaint would be the better option. Never agree to license surrender until you’ve consulted with your attorney.
Unfortunately, consequences don’t end with the board’s official action. Even if you retain certification, you may find it difficult to find work. If you run your own business, you may face skepticism from potential clients. Disciplinary and non-disciplinary action — including milder consequences such as letters of concern — can be viewed by the public. Easily accessible online records may cause issues not only in your current field, but also if you strive to find work in a new profession.
Don’t sacrifice your career for the sake of a simple misunderstanding. You cannot afford anything less than stellar representation at this critical time. Work with the attorneys of the Stewart Law Group to reach a successful outcome. Call (602) 548-3400 at your earliest convenience to schedule a case consultation.