Someone with a professional license is being investigated by an agency in Texas

What Happens when a Texas Licensing Board Agency Investigates Your Professional License?

Facing a formal complaint or investigation against your professional license? You need experienced legal representation! An attorney who is experienced with Texas licensing boards, laws, and rules is the best choice to defend your case and minimize the impact on your professional license.

There are many types of licenses governed by different agencies. FosterDanowsky represents clients before all licensing agencies, including the Board of Nursing (BON), the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR); the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy (TSBPA), the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC), the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists (TSBEP), and the Texas Board of Professional Engineers (TBPE). No matter what agency governs your license, having competent legal assistance is wise if you are under investigation.

Professional License Investigation Process

An administrative investigation can be initiated in several ways. A former client, patient, colleague or another person may file a complaint with the licensing board. The agency may be responding to information acquired through a background check.  Or the agency may simply perform a random inspection against you. When the agency assigns an investigator to perform their investigation, they generally have no information besides the complaint, the background check, or the results of the inspection.

Because the agency only has one side of the story and is relying initially on the information provided in the complaint, background check, or inspection, the investigator will begin trying to learn more. Initially, the investigator will write to you requesting more information. Typically, the investigator is trying to determine:

  1. whether or not any rules were actually broken, and
  2. if a rule was broken, what sort of sanction or punishment is appropriate.

Time out! If you receive a letter of investigation requesting information from an agency, DO NOT IGNORE THE LETTER. If you do not respond to an agency’s letter of investigation, the agency will have the legal authority to proceed with a “default judgment.” A default judgment allows the agency to decide the case against you without giving you a chance to defend yourself. Oftentimes, a default judgment will lead to revocation of the professional license, and most agencies will not allow a licensee to reapply until one year after revocation. Do not lose your livelihood because you didn’t respond to a letter!

Before you respond to an investigator’s request for information, consult with a lawyer experienced in this area of law. A knowledgeable lawyer will explain your rights and the licensing board’s responsibilities as they pertain to your particular license and the complaint against you. The attorney needs all the details about the complaint and your defense to it, so be ready to go over the complaint and events surrounding it extensively. This will allow the lawyer to give you the most accurate advice and assistance for your case.

While many licensed professionals try to resolve these types of issues without legal help, it definitely is not recommended. The cost of hiring an attorney to represent you in a licensing dispute is often much less than the potential sanctions that could result from the complaint. As stated above, investigators are trying to determine:

  1. Whether or not any rules were actually broken, and
  2. If a rule was broken, what sort of sanction or punishment is appropriate.

If you did not actually violate a rule, a professional licensing attorney can help you prove this to the agency. Further, even if you did violate a rule, a professional licensing attorney can often help reduce sanctions or even negotiate a dismissal of the complaint altogether.

You have worked hard to earn your professional license, and you should put the same effort into preserving it. If you have any questions or comments about the material included here, please contact FosterDanowsky.

The information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.