You worked hard to earn your professional license. You might have attended school for years gaining the knowledge necessary to practice your profession. Perhaps you met other stringent requirements, like passing an examination or apprenticing with a mentor.
Losing your professional license risks your career and, in many cases, your identity. When your license is threatened, you have the right to defend yourself. A professional license defense attorney in Tampa from Metcalf Falls, Criminal Defense Attorneys, P.A. can defend you and your license and fight for a fair outcome in your case.
Types of Professional License Defense We Handle
Florida requires many professionals to obtain and hold a valid license to work in their field. Without the license, the state can bring administrative or even criminal proceedings to shut down the practitioner’s business.
Some professionals who need a license and could lose it in a disciplinary hearing include the following:
- Building contractors
- Electrical contractors
- Mental health counselors
- Professional engineers
- Certified public accountants
- Real estate agents
- Registered investment advisors
- Certified financial planners
- Home inspectors
- Cosmetologists and barbers
- Massage therapists
This list is not exhaustive. Some occupations involve specialty licenses. Other licenses are granted to the business, such as a public lodging or talent agency, instead of or in addition to the person running it.
Administrative Investigation and Hearing Process
Each licensing board in Florida has its own rules and procedures for handling license revocations and suspensions. But most of these processes follow a similar series of steps that allow the license holder to defend their license. These steps often include:
Receiving a Complaint
A license revocation or suspension proceeding often begins with a complaint. This complaint can come from many sources:
- Current customers or clients
- Former customers or clients
- Colleagues and peers
- The licensing board
Former or current customers and clients may raise issues about the quality of the services rendered or the competence of the professional rendering them. They may also make a complaint when they have not received the services they believe a professional promised.
Professional colleagues may raise issues about unfair business practices, such as misleading advertisements. They may also complain about unprofessional behavior.
Finally, some boards can raise issues without any outside complaints. Sometimes, these issues involve administrative requirements like continuing education. But they can also involve substantive matters. For example, a licensing board might open a case after a professional gets convicted of a crime.
Investigating the Complaint
The licensing body will investigate the allegations against you. These investigations are not always transparent. But at the end of the investigation, the licensing body will decide whether to take action against your license or drop the complaint.
At this point, an experienced license defense attorney might persuade the body to drop the complaint. For example, if the evidence of a license violation is shaky, a lawyer might be able to convince the board to save its resources for more serious cases.
If the board decides to proceed with the case, you and your lawyer will receive a copy of all the records and witness statements the body will use against you. Your lawyer can use these materials to gather evidence to defend you.
Response and Hearing
The licensing body will typically set a deadline for your lawyer to respond to the complaint and the evidence. After receiving the response, the board may decide to drop the case. It may also open the door to settling the case in exchange for you accepting some form of punishment short of license revocation. For example, a board could offer:
- Private reprimand
- Public reprimand
- Temporary license suspension
These punishments would allow your lawyer to settle your case while preserving your professional license.
If you cannot settle your case, the board will set a hearing. This hearing is similar to a trial. However, instead of a jury, you will have your fate decided by a licensing panel.
The licensing body will present the case against you, and your lawyer will present your defenses. The panel will weigh the evidence and render a decision.
The decision will usually include findings of fact. It may impose a punishment. You and your lawyer should discuss what steps you might take throughout the process to try to avoid the worst punishment of license revocation. Sometimes, showing contrition and making restitution will help you avoid losing your license indefinitely.
You will almost always have the option to have the licensing board’s decision reviewed. In some cases, you can appeal the decision. In other situations, you may need to file a lawsuit against the licensing body to obtain judicial review of its action.
Application for Reinstatement
If the licensing body suspends or revokes your license, it may allow you to apply for reinstatement. You may need to wait a certain amount of time. You may also need to take some kind of remedial measures.
For example, if your license was suspended because of problems arising from alcoholism, the board may be more open to reinstating you after you complete alcohol rehab.
How Can a Tampa Professional License Defense Attorney Help?
No two licensing defense cases are the same. A Tampa professional license defense attorney can review your situation and the licensing board’s rules and advise you about the best strategies for preserving your license.
Your lawyer will negotiate with the licensing body to try to resolve the case fairly. And if the case does not settle, the lawyer will present your case at a hearing.
Contact a Professional License Defense Attorney
You invested time and effort into obtaining your professional license. Contact Metcalf Falls, Criminal Defense Attorneys, P.A. to find out how we can help you defend your license.
Call (813) 258-4800 to schedule an initial consultation today.