Having a professional license means a lot in Pennsylvania. It takes education, training, and testing to become a doctor, nurse, architect, teacher, therapist, or pilot. Given how hard you worked, you don’t want your livelihood threatened by criminal allegations.
Whether someone accuses you of unethical behavior or you are arrested, you need to contact a professional license defense attorney as soon as possible. Depending on the facts and your profession, you may have to fight the charges in criminal court and during an administrative process. At Skinner Law Firm, a Chester County defense attorney is here to help with both.
Attorney Michael Skinner knows how important it is to protect your professional license and reputation. Let us fight to spare you from a criminal conviction, a license suspension, or revocation. Call (610) 436-1410 or reach out online to schedule a free consultation.
Skinner Law Firm protects professionals in Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery County who are charged or being investigated by their professional governing body.
You may also have a Pennsylvania professional license as a:
If your professional license is at stake because of criminal conduct, call us right away. Many professional boards conduct disciplinary proceedings in Harrisburg. Regardless where you live or practice in the Commonwealth, we can represent you with a strong focus on retaining your license and livelihood.
The Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs handles disciplinary issues for 29 professional and occupational licensing bodies in the Commonwealth and has offices in Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Scranton. The Bureau’s responsibilities include receiving and investigating complaints and sanctioning professionals who violate their profession’s rules and regulations.
If you are licensed by one of the 29 boards or commissions, and the Bureau receives a complaint, one of its investigators will reach out to you. Or you might receive a letter instead. When you become aware of a complaint and an investigation, call an attorney about license defense right away.
Some behaviors are considered unethical and unbecoming of a profession, even if they are not illegal. For example, many professions’ ethical standards prohibit sexual relationships between licensees and their clients or patients. Dating someone is not a crime, but it may be inappropriate because of an ongoing professional relationship.
Allegations of criminal conduct can have severe consequences for a licensed professional, even when the allegations are unrelated to your work. Call us right away if you are facing charges for:
Your behavior outside of work can impact your license and ability to do your job. If you are worried about whether allegations or an arrest could be a problem, consider what will show on a background check.
A criminal background check can show:
For many employment situations, background checks go back seven years. But there are no laws in Pennsylvania that stop an employer from looking back further.
Once you have a criminal record – through an arrest, charges, or a conviction – it can impact your current license and any future professional licensure. Most professional boards require you to inform them of a criminal conviction – like a DUI, Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition (ARD), or Probation Without Verdict (PWOV) – within 30 days.
You may wonder whether you need an attorney when dealing with allegations of a crime, especially a misdemeanor. We highly recommend you give us a call. A professional license attorney’s cost is nothing compared to losing your license because you did not effectively defend yourself.
At Skinner Law Firm, we can defend you on both fronts: In criminal court and during the administrative process. We understand how criminal charges and your professional license intersect. We will thoroughly investigate the claims against you, gather evidence, and use what we know to obtain the best possible outcome in both situations.
The administrative process begins with a complaint made against you. Anyone can file a complaint with the Bureau, such as a client, patient, or colleague.
Once the Bureau receives the complaint, it is their responsibility to review the complaint and determine whether an investigation should move forward. If they decide there may have been a violation or need more information, they send the Bureau of Enforcement and Investigation a complaint. Here, an investigator is assigned to gather information and determine whether disciplinary charges should be filed.
An investigator may contact you, even showing up at your office unannounced. You are not required to answer their questions. We recommend you politely decline an interview and contact a professional license defense attorney.
After finishing their investigation, the investigator forwards their report to the Professional Compliance Office, which works with a prosecuting attorney to decide charges.
If they determine charges are appropriate, you will receive an Order to Show Cause. This outlines the allegations against you and requires you to appear before your profession’s governing body. If you have not contacted a lawyer yet, now is the time to do so. You have 30 days to file an Answer to the Order to Show Cause.
The next step is a hearing, which is like a criminal trial in some ways. There will be witnesses, evidence, and a formal decision. But there is a much lower burden of proof than a trial. We highly recommend you have a lawyer gather and present evidence on your behalf during an administrative hearing.
Another option is negotiating a Consent Agreement and Order, which is like a settlement or plea bargain. With the help of an attorney, you and the prosecuting attorney agree to the facts and a penalty, which you believe will be acceptable to the board or commission. We then present the Consent Agreement and Order to be approved by the licensing board or commission.
Whether you negotiate a Consent Agreement or go through a hearing and receive a Final Adjudication, these disciplinary actions become a permanent part of the public record.
Though the administrative process follows the same general process, each licensing board or commission has its own rules and procedures. Each professional has its regulations, and each licensing body has its criteria for determining when and how you can be sanctioned. The process is often confusing, even for seasoned professionals, so it is helpful to hire a Chester County professional license attorney.
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Every professional governing body decides on appropriate sanctions for its licensees. Depending on what the board or commission finds to be accurate, you could face:
Given the potential ramifications of the disciplinary process, it is essential to work with an attorney who can clear up any misunderstandings, seek to prove your innocence, or fight to mitigate the consequences of your conduct.
At Skinner Law Firm, we understand mistakes happen. You can experience a lapse in judgment. When that happens, we are here to protect your license. We can work with the governing body to obtain an outcome that involves fair discipline yet lets you continue your career.
A lot is at stake when you are charged with a crime or accused of a professional violation. Whether or not you face criminal fines and imprisonment, you have to worry about losing your license to do your job. You must do what you can to protect your license and professional reputation as soon as possible. Call Michael J. Skinner of Skinner Law Firm to review your situation.
With offices in West Chester, Michael has decades of legal experience, assists professionals throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania, and can help you fight the allegations.