Professional License Defense Lawyer in Arkansas
People working in many occupations are required by law to maintain a professional license, which entails undergoing accreditation and testing procedures to ensure they conform to the standards and experience requirements of each specific license. This is essential to ensure that high professional standards and conduct are upheld.
Arkansas has hundreds of regulatory boards that oversee professional licenses of doctors, nurses, accountants, architects, building contractors, teachers, cosmetologists, dentists, electricians, engineers, psychologists, paramedics and many others. People working in these professions are required to be licensed by their regulatory bodies, most of which maintain websites enabling the public to verify the license of any professional. For example, the Arkansas State Medical Board based in Little Rock serves to protect the public by regulating the practices of medical corporations, doctors, osteopaths, physician assistants, respiratory therapists, occupational therapists, and radiologists. Its website enables members of the public to conduct a directory search to locate a medical practitioner, to verify a license or to file a complaint. It also lists both license consent and disciplinary actions taken against medical professionals.
Professional licensing bodies have strict codes of enforcement. Any professional who is subject to investigation by a regulatory agency cannot afford to jeopardize their career and reputation by facing the procedure alone. You are strongly advised to talk to an Arkansas professional license defense lawyer as soon as you are served notice of an impending investigation.
Causes of Disciplinary Action
Complaints against you can be made by members of the public as well as an employer or fellow worker in your profession. Any complaint, no matter how trivial it may seem, needs to be taken seriously. First and foremost, you need to protect your professional reputation. A regulatory board may take the decision to suspend or revoke your license, depending on the seriousness of the complaint and the evidence presented during an investigation. If this happens, your career will be seriously threatened. When facing a complaint of any nature, you need to enlist the help of a professional license defense lawyer who has the experience to protect you. Many regulatory boards may also conduct a formal hearing, in which case you need an experienced license defense lawyer to represent you.
Many complaints may be categorized as unprofessional conduct or, more seriously, professional misconduct. There are several types of complaints that can be filed against you:
- Practicing incompetently or negligently
- Mistreating clients or patients
- Failing to ensure the necessary standards of safe practice
- Causing harm to another person
- Violating the terms of your license
- Violating laws, rules, and regulations governing your profession
- Practicing outside your authorized profession
- Delegating work to an unlicensed or unqualified person
- Failing to supervise and monitor workers
- Practicing while impaired by alcohol or drug use
- Evidence of criminal convictions
- Conducting fraudulent activities
Depending on the nature of a complaint and the outcome of an investigation or hearing, you could face serious consequences for any of these complaints. These could include a reprimand, warning, censure, fine or penalty, in addition to the risk of having your license suspended or revoked.
Disciplinary Process for Professional License Complaints in Arkansas
Firstly, upon receiving a complaint, a regulatory board will check to see if you are licensed to practice in the state of Arkansas and that the matter falls under its jurisdiction. Thereafter, you will be notified of the complaint and that an investigation will be undertaken. At this time, you should seek the counsel of a professional license defense lawyer. Failure to respond to the notification by the regulatory board or to cooperate fully in an investigation will invite a default judgment, with the possibility of the loss of your license.
Your regulatory board will conduct a thorough investigation into the complaint. They will ask you for your explanation and interview the complainant and any witnesses involved. If the complaint warrants it, they may opt to conduct a formal hearing, in which case you will need your professional license defense lawyer to represent you. It is essential to involve your legal representative throughout the process, no matter how trivial the complaint may seem. There may be a complication or issue that you have not foreseen that could lead to you being found guilty of misconduct and the potential loss of your license.
Regulatory agencies need to be thorough when conducting investigations to ensure that the professionals under their jurisdictions are meeting their standards and conforming to all rules and regulations. By the very nature of their work, professionals should know that they are expected to practice to the best of their ability at all times. They should also know that failure to do so may result in them being disciplined. At the same time, regulatory bodies are mindful that a complaint may have been made maliciously, but they are required to keep an open mind on the matter. Although they are set up to protect the public and uphold the standards of their professions, agencies are fully aware of the implications of censure on a professional’s career and reputation. Accordingly, they will go to all lengths to ensure that they gather as much evidence as they need to make a decision on what disciplinary action to take.
Steps to Take in the Event of a Professional License Investigation
It is essential to recognize that any complaint made against can have devastating consequences for your career and affect your livelihood. Your professional license is something that you have worked many years to achieve, so it is critical that you do everything you can to protect it. If you have been notified of a complaint by the regulatory board you should:
- Do not attempt to defend your case on your own. Even if the complaint has no merit or appears to be trivial, you cannot afford to risk your license by attempting to defend yourself. What may appear trivial on the surface could turn out to be something more serious. Seek the help of a professional license defense lawyer.
- Contact your Arkansas professional license defense lawyer as soon as you receive notification. Do not respond to the board without consulting your license defense lawyer, and under no circumstances should you admit fault to anybody without first seeking the advice of counsel. This is bound to be a stressful time for you, but your attorney will able to bring calmness to the situation. Seek legal help immediately and allow your lawyer to do his job, which is to protect you and your career. Your attorney has extensive experience in defending complaints of this nature and fight to get the best outcome for you.
- Write down all you can remember of your interactions with the complainant. This should be done as soon as possible, while everything is still fresh in your memory. Your attorney will need to get as much detail as possible to fight your case, and it’s important that you recall everything that occurred. It doesn’t help to second guess the motives of the complainant. The important thing is to make a record of the facts as you recall them.
- Do not discuss the complaint with anyone except your professional license defense lawyer. Do not contact the complainant under any circumstances. You may be tempted to do so on first receiving the complaint, especially if you are confused as to the nature of the complaint or unaware that you had done anything wrong. Leave all communications in the hands of your lawyer who will interact with the regulatory agency and arrange for witnesses for your case.
Rely On A Professional License Defense Lawyer at Denton and Zachary
With offices in Little Rock, Arkansas, and Conway, Arkansas, Denton & Zachary Law has extensive experience as trial lawyers in several jurisdictions within the state. Joe Denton is an Arkansas native and has built a reputation on standing with the little guy against big corporations and federal agencies. Having graduated from law school at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock, Justin Zachary is passionate about helping people in need and representing them at trial. Justin has been recognized by Super Lawyer Magazine as a rising star, an award made to only 2.5% of lawyers in Arkansas.
At Denton & Zachary, we have garnered an enviable reputation as excellent trial lawyers because we have delivered results and are passionate about helping people in their legal fights in many diverse fields. In the course of our work, we have defended many professionals who have received complaints. We are thorough in our preparation to fight any complaint of professional misconduct. We understand that any threat to your professional license is a threat to your career and livelihood, and we will fight hard to protect your interests. We will argue your case for you in a formal hearing to ensure you don’t have your license revoked or have your professional reputation negatively impacted.
If you are an Arkansas professional who has received notification of a complaint from your regulatory board, give a professional license defense lawyer a call immediately to fight your case.