Administrative Law: Business and Professional Licenses

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Table of Contents

 
 

  1. What should I do if I receive a Statement of Issues or Accusation?

  2. Should I Include an Explanation with My Notice of Defense?

  3. Do I have a Right to be Represented by Counsel?

  4. Can I Represent Myself At Hearing?

  5. My License was Revoked. Can I Reapply After 1 Year?

  6. I Have a Criminal Conviction. Should I Disclose it in My Application?

  7. Will my license be denied because of a criminal conviction in my past?

  8. I am being investigated. What should I do?

  9. Someone has filed a complaint against me. What should I do?
 
 

FAQ's

 
 
  1. 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

  2. Should I Include an Explanation with My Notice of Defense?

    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 to Contents

  3. 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 to Contents

  4. 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 to Contents

  5. My License was Revoked. Can I Reapply After 1 Year?

    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 to Contents

  6. 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 to Contents

  7. 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 to Contents

  8. 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 to Contents

  9. 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 to Contents

 

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