- What should I do if I receive a Statement of
Issues or Accusation?
You should consult with an attorney as soon as possible. You or your
attorney should complete the Notice of Defense form and mail it to
the agency by Certified Mail -- Return Receipt Requested within 15
days of the mailing date of the Accusation or Statement of
Issues. Retain a copy of the Notice of Defense and follow-up to make
sure your Notice of Defense is received by the agency. If you don't
request a hearing in a timely matter, then you may lose your license.
Up to Contents
- Should I Include an Explanation with My Notice
No explanation is required with a Notice of Defense. Any statement
that you provide to the agency or its attorney may be used against
you. Therefore, you should not provide any additional information
to the agency until you consult with counsel. The following example
illustrates the danger of making statements without the advice of
counsel: Jane Doe receives a Statement of Issues denying her Real
Estate Salesperson's license application on the grounds that she
has a prior conviction for petty theft. She returns a Notice of
Defense. She also sends the Department of Real Estate a letter explaining
that she plead no contest to the charges without admitting guilt
because her attorney recommended that she plead no contest and pay
a $300 fine to avoid the cost and risk of a jury trial. Later, Jane
consults with an attorney who explains that the conviction is grounds
for denial of her license and that she will have to demonstrate
rehabilitation at hearing. At the hearing, Jane is surprise when
the attorney for the Department of Real Estate presents her letter
of explanation to the administrative law judge as evidence that
Jane has not accepted responsibility for her theft, which weakens
her case for rehabilitation. Up
- Do I have a Right to be Represented by Counsel?
You have a right to be represented by counsel at your own expense.
There is no right to appointed counsel for individuals who cannot
afford an attorney. Up
- Can I Represent Myself At Hearing?
You have a legal right to represent yourself, but you are not likely
to be successful. If you cannot afford an attorney, and you cannot
find pro bono representation through a bar association or legal
aid organization, then at least consult with an attorney about what
evidence to present at hearing and how to present it. Up
- My License was Revoked. Can I Reapply After
If your license is revoked or denied, you may be able to reapply
after 1 year (this time period is longer for some agencies). Do
not be misled into believing that the agency will simply give you
another license. Once your license has been revoked, getting it
back is an extraordinary accomplishment. The burden will be on you
to show rehabilitation, and some agencies will summarily deny your
re-application (without a hearing). Up
- I Have a Criminal Conviction. Should I Disclose
it in My Application?
Yes! Many applicants are denied a license for failing to
disclose criminal convictions that would not otherwise have been
grounds for denial. Up
- Will my license be denied because of a criminal
conviction in my past?
It depends. There are two issues to examine: First, is the conviction
grounds for discipline? Second, can you demonstrate rehabilitation?
Whether the conviction is grounds for discipline is dependent on
the license. Typically, a conviction is a ground for discipline
if it is a felony or a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude. For
licenses governed by the California Business and Professions Code,
a conviction is grounds for discipline only if it is substantially
related to the business or profession.
Even if the conviction is grounds for discipline, California law
requires agencies to issue licenses to applicants who can show rehabilitation.
Some agencies have issued regulations which set forth criteria to
be considered in evaluating rehabilitation. Demonstrating rehabilitation
to the satisfaction of a California licensing agencies is not a
trivial task, and applicants should consult counsel. Up
- I am being investigated. What should I do?
Seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity. Do not make the
make the mistake of foregoing legal counsel in the hope of endearing
yourself to agency investigators or attorneys. Agency investigators
and attorneys are professionals who expect you to seek legal representation.
Depending on the license at issue, you may have an obligation to
cooperate by providing certain types of information, such as a patient's
medical records, in the case of a medical license. Up
- Someone has filed a complaint against me. What
should I do?
That depends on the license and the nature of the complaint. Here
is an example:
Licensee is a nurse at a busy hospital who provides the wrong medication
to a patient. She discovers the error and immediately calls the
physician on duty and her supervisor. There is no harm to the patient.
The hospital and the licensee report the error to the Board of Registered
Nursing. Licensee seeks the advice of an attorney. The attorney recommends that the licensee immediately enroll in advanced
level nursing courses related to pharmacology. Eventually, an investigator
for the Board of Registered Nursing meets with the licensee and
speaks with the nursing supervisor. The Board of Registered Nursing
considers the following facts: the licensee has no prior record
of discipline, the error was not the result of gross negligence,
the licensee has the respect of the nursing supervisor, the licensee
self-reported the error, the licensee voluntarily enrolled in pharmacology
courses to improve her skills, the licensee has a good attitude,
and there was no harm to the patient. In view of these facts, the
Board of Registered Nursing decided to take no action. Up