Like it or not, if you work as a professional in North Carolina, you may be required to be properly licensed in order to practice your chosen profession. With that license comes responsibilities and laws that must be obeyed in order for you to keep your license. If a law is broken, the licensing board of your chosen profession will conduct an investigation and issue you a notification that you are believed to be in violation of a law concerning your license. Does that mean you have no voice? Of course not.
WHAT DO I DO IF I GET NOTIFIED THAT I VIOLATED A PROFESSIONAL LICENSING LAW?
Once you received a written notification from your licensing board that sets forth the allegations against you, there will be an opportunity for you to respond to the allegations in writing.
Once you respond to the allegations, in writing, most licensing boards will conduct an informal interview with the licensee who can have legal counsel present and a discussion of the allegations and licensee response will commence. From this stage, the licensing board will conduct a probable cause hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to support the allegation and require a formal hearing to be conducted. Neither the licensee, nor an attorney for the licensee, can be present at the probable cause hearing.
WHAT CAN I DO IF THE PROBABLE CAUSE HEARING DOES NOT GO MY WAY?
The next step will be a formal a hearing at your professional licensing board's head office or in front of an Administrative Law Judge at the Office of Administrative Hearings. Whether the formal hearing is done in front of the professional licensing board or an ALJ at the Office of Administrative Hearing, it will be done in accordance with the rules implemented by the Office of Administrative Hearings ("OAH").
Assuming an agreement is not reached beforehand, the formal hearing will commence and be conducted just like any civil trial would be. At the conclusion of the formal hearing the ALJ or board/agency will issue a decision based on the evidence presented at the hearing.
WHAT DO I DO IF THE FORMAL HEARING RESULTS IN A LICENSE SUSPENSION/REVOCATION?
If the formal licensing hearing does not go your way, you may have the option of appealing the hearing decision to superior court or the court of appeals. The difference here is going to be that any superior court or appellate court hearing will be limited to the record of the hearing. That means that there will be no new evidence or testimony presented on the appeal and only what has been presented at the hearing and previous to the hearing will be considered by the court.
Our office is experienced in general litigation matters including administrative hearings. It is important to remember that contacting an attorney as soon as you know of an issue with your license is going to be your best option.
*REMEMBER, NOTHING IN THIS BLOG POST IS INTENDED TO BE LEGAL ADVICE AND DOES NOT ESTABLISH AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.