Professional License Discipline

Professional License Attorney

A professional licensing board is likely to discipline licensees when their conduct is substantially related to the qualifications, functions or duties of the profession. Understanding the license review process and hiring the right lawyer are essential components to obtaining a favorable outcome before a professional licensing board. The attorneys of Hammerschmidt Broughton Law Corporation routinely assist Central California professionals when their careers are on the line. There are over 60 professional license boards in California and we handle almost all professional license cases. If you are facing discipline, you can be confident that we provide the best defense possible and work hard to restore your reputation.

A licensing board often files an accusation against a licensee who is convicted of a crime or who engages in conduct deemed offensive to the board. This accusation usually states that the board intends to revoke the license at issue. A licensee has 15 days to respond to the accusation. Failure to respond in a timely manner usually results in a default judgment being entered against the licensee, often leading to a revocation of the license. A licensee who responds to the accusation in the time allowed and who is represented by competent counsel is often able to resolve the matter in a manner that does not result in a complete revocation of the license. Although the board may impose a complete revocation of the license, it may also impose a lesser discipline, including suspension or probation.

Factors that are typically considered by the board in determining the appropriate level of discipline include:

  • Nature and severity of the acts, offenses or crimes under consideration
  • Actual or potential harm to the public
  • Actual or potential harm to the licensee’s patient or client
  • Prior disciplinary record
  • Number and/or variety of current violations
  • Mitigation evidence
  • Rehabilitation evidence
  • In the case of a criminal conviction, compliance with conditions of the sentence and/or court-ordered probation
  • Overall criminal record
  • Time passed since the acts or offenses occurred
  • Whether a court has granted an expungement of the criminal offense pursuant to California Penal Code Section 1203.4

Understand what you should look for in an attorney to represent you in Professional License Discipline.

What to Look for in a Professional License Discipline Attorney

If you are a professional facing a disciplinary board, hiring the right lawyer can offer you the best chance of saving your license. Your criminal attorney needs to:

  • Understand the detailed regulations and the disciplinary guidelines of the board that licensed you
  • Understand how the board has disciplined others who have committed offenses similar or identical to the violation of which you’ve been accused
  • Understand what can be done to have the board view your case favorably
  • Provide you with a list of things you can do to improve the outcome with the board

The best outcomes occur when the licensee and the attorney work together to show the board that the licensee is unlikely to reoffend and that the licensee has addressed or is addressing the problems that led to the offending conduct.

Before selecting a lawyer, ask the following questions to help you determine whether the person should handle your case:

  • Of the last ten professional licensing matters you have handled, how many of those clients had their licenses revoked without being offered probation?
  • What factors in my case determine whether it is likely that we can avoid revocation of my license?
  • What are “underground rules?” If the attorneys you interview cannot answer this question, they are not adept at professional licensing.
  • Which types of professionals have you represented in professional licensing matters?
  • Who has the burden of proof at a hearing before the administrative law judge, and what is the legal standard of proof required?
  • Do various boards treat the same offense differently? If so, why?

Why Choose Hammerschmidt Broughton Law Corporation for Professional License Discipline to Represent You?

A few words from Attorney Jeffrey T. Hammerschmidt:

I spent more than 12 years serving as a deputy district attorney, prosecuting all types of crimes, from misdemeanors to homicides. When I started my own practice defending persons accused of crimes, I represented many professionals, including physicians, nurses, attorneys, emergency medical technicians, firefighters and others licensed by the state of California. These clients were often more concerned about the effect on their professional license than they were about the punishment for a criminal conviction.

As a result, I developed an interest in representing people in disciplinary proceedings involving their professional license. What I found was that the skills needed to be an effective criminal defense attorney were nearly identical to the skills needed to represent people in professional licensing matters.

For example, in a case in which a client has been convicted of an offense involving the use of alcohol or drugs, I can often obtain a lesser punishment in criminal court if I can prove to the court that my client is not addicted to drugs or alcohol, or that my client is addicted but is receiving treatment. Similarly, a client who is able to prove to the board that he or she is dealing with the problem that led to the offending conduct is much more likely to retain his or her license than a person who hasn’t addressed the problem.

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