Professional License Defense
It may seem strange to you that your small consulting service or home-based hand knit sweater business would need to comply with numerous local, state and federal licensing and permit requirements, but in all likelihood it will, so it is important to understand what to expect. Business licenses and permits can range from the general (a basic license to operate a business within a city or county), to the specific (a state permit to sell alcohol or firearms). Business-related licenses and permits are issued at all levels of government-federal, state, and local (city, county, or town).
Types of Licenses
• Business Licenses: There are many types of licenses. You need one to operate legally almost everywhere. If the business is located within an incorporated city’s limits, a license must be obtained from the city; if outside the city limits, then from the county.
• Property Use Permits: if you start a business that involves manufacturing or if you decide to begin operating a business out of your home, depending on your location you may need to obtain a land use permit from your city or county’s zoning department.
• Building Permits: If you are constructing a new building, or expanding or renovating an existing building in order to operate a business, you will most likely need to obtain a building permit from the city or county. The process may require that you submit a detailed set of plans to the department prior to approval of the work and issuance of the permit.
• Certificate of Occupancy: If you are planning on occupying a new or used building for a new business, you may have to apply for a Certificate of Occupancy from a city or county zoning department.
• Health Department Permits: These permits are most often required for businesses involve in the preparation and/or sale of food, among other types of businesses.
• Licenses Based on Type of Product Sold: Some state licensing requirements are based on the type of product the business sells. For example, most states require special licenses before a business may sell liquor, lottery tickets, gasoline or firearms.
• Professional / Occupational Licenses: If you intend to open a business, and you (and/or the people who work for you) will be offering services in a wide range of areas including medical care, auto repair, real estate sales, tax services, cosmetology, and legal representation (attorneys) — the business itself and/or the individual employees working for the business must apply for and obtain state licenses authorizing the practice of such a profession or occupation.
• Employer Identification Number: Most business are required to obtain a federal employer identification number (or EIN; sometimes called a tax identification number) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Your business may also need to acquire a similar tax identification number from your state’s department of revenue or taxation.
• Sales Tax Licenses and Numbers: In your state there may be a percent sales and use tax which applies to the retail purchase, retail site, rental, storage, and use of personal property and certain services. In other words, sales tax must be collected on just about every tangible item sold. A sales tax number is required for each business before opening.
In the business permit and licensing context, “grandfathering” means that a new law or code is not enforced against those businesses and/or individuals who are already in business at the time the law is passed. The key thing to remember with “grandfathering” is that, once a business changes hands (i.e. it is bought and sold) the new owner will most likely be required to come into full compliance with all local regulations, including any from which the prior owner was exempted. Licenses and permits requirements may seem challenging, but you don’t have to figure it out on your own. Speak with an experienced business lawyer who can determine your obligations under the law and help develop a plan to make sure you’re in compliance.
Professional Licensing Disputes
In many instances, a business or professional must obtain a license from a regulatory agency that supervises a particular industry or field before they can start conducting business. According to the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), a license is an agency permit, certificate, charter, membership, approval, or other form of permission. In most circumstances, the party seeking a license or permit has the burden of demonstrating to the agency that he or she is eligible based on the agency’s predetermined criteria. Administrative agencies retain the power to revoke, suspend, or modify a license issued pursuant to their authority. Many types of businesses and professions must obtain a license or permit, or sometimes both. One of the most common industries subject to administrative agency licensing requirements is the medical field. Doctors, physicians, dentists, and healthcare providers must all obtain some form of license. Currently, there is no federal medical board authority, and each state maintains its own medical board that provides licenses to doctors and healthcare providers and supervises their activities. For professionals who must obtain a license from an administrative agency in order to conduct business or perform services, having the license denied, suspended, or revoked can be devastating. In general, agencies can establish a wide range of criteria that applicants must meet or maintain during the status of the licensure. The agency need only show that the requirement it imposes on applicants is rationally related to determining whether the applicant is fit for the particular profession in question. Agencies are typically required to provide timely notice of the denial of a license, or the suspension or revocation of a license. In some instances, the agency must also provide a brief statement explaining the grounds for the denial.
In many instances, the licensing agency requires applicants to take some form of standardized test, acquire an academic degree, complete training courses, or complete a certain number of field training hours before qualifying for a license. Many agencies impose a combination of these requirements. Disputes may arise regarding whether or not an applicant has met the necessary requirements. Most agencies that require licenses provide the public with a method for reporting whether one of its licensees has violated a law, practice, or procedure relevant to the industry. An administrative agency that has denied, suspended, or revoked a license may be subject to legal action from the applicant or license holder. Before pursuing legal action, however, the applicant or license holder usually must exhaust any appeal procedures provided by the agency, such as an administrative hearing or administrative appeal. An applicant or license holder may assert a number of claims in the lawsuit against the agency, including the violation of certain rights and procedures. The court will then determine whether the agency’s denial, suspension, or revocation of the license complied with the appropriate procedures and was within the realm of the agency’s authority. A licensing agency’s authority to grant, deny, suspend, or revoke a license is derived from the statute or order that created the agency. Any conduct by the agency that falls outside the scope of the statute may constitute an arbitrary and capricious act, or an abuse of the agency’s discretion.
Roles Of A Professional License Attorney Do?
Professional license attorneys are lawyers who practice administrative law, a type of law that deals with the regulation and operation of procedures within government agencies. As occupational licenses are handled and overseen by governmental boards, a professional license defense lawyer is primarily an administrative law attorney who focuses on matters regarding occupational licensing. In Utah, over 200 job roles require licensing credentials, including real estate agents, healthcare professionals, financial services representatives, and more. Since licenses differ from certifications in that they are legally required by the government for an individual to work in an occupation, they pose an added level of red tape for practitioners in these fields. Because of this, when a licensee runs into trouble, they have to deal with a governmental agency to rectify the situation, instead of just an employer. The bulk of the duties performed by a professional license defense attorney revolve around protecting an individual’s occupational license and right to work. Governmental regulatory boards oversee license approvals, as well as disciplinary actions against licensees that have been accused of unethical behavior, professional misconduct, or those who’ve been charged with a crime. Professional license defense attorneys step in to represent licensees during these matters, and their key areas of focus can be divided into three categories:
• Application Appeals: defending a license applicant when their license is denied. A competent occupational license defense lawyer defends an applicant after a denial or a “Statement of Issues” has been filed against them.
• Discipline Defense: defending practicing licensees when their license is facing discipline because they’ve been accused of professional misconduct, unethical behavior or a crime.
• Petitions for Reinstatement: representing a former licensee who’d like to re-enter their career field after having a license that has been suspended or revoked.
Ways to Protect Your Professional License
Even when a practitioner—be they medical professional, teacher, podiatrist or architect—under investigation based on a claim is perfectly certain that the accusation is baseless, the licensing board under whose competence the claim falls is utterly in the dark on the matter. The fact is, most of these licensing boards have been charged by the legislature with protecting the public, not the licensees under their purview. Therefore, any complaint, however baseless, must be treated with complete seriousness, so that a practitioner may continue to perform the job they have trained so hard for.
As part of this attitude of seriousness, it is recommended licensed practitioners undertake the following steps to protect their professional licenses:
• Get legal counsel, informal stages of disciplinary investigations or proceedings are of dire importance, and an established practitioner of license defense law can aid a licensee-holder in obtaining early-stage wins that may result in both the retention of the license and a shortening of the duration of proceedings to come. Yes, this may cost more money upfront than if the professional were to represent themselves in these proceedings—but in the end, it’s worth it. (Just imagine how much money might be lost due to the revocation of a professional license.)
• Disclose any mistakes that were actually made, in the early stages of the process. Everyone is human, and early-stage admitting of mistakes that have been documented can actually result in a lower impact on a professional’s right to continue practicing their profession. Naturally, it is key to obtain an attorney’s advice on exactly what to disclose.
• Do what can be done to protect any professional licenses held in other states. Disciplinary action in one state, on one license, can severely affect licenses held in other states. An experienced license defense attorney may be able to mitigate such effects.
• Begin to build a case for reinstatement of your license. It is always best to plan for the worst while aiming for the best. We will try to save your license on the front end and set you up to get it back if possible should it be taken from you.
• Make sure your attorney has the right sort of experience.
How to Protect Your Professional License Following a DUI
Getting a DUI can be a life-changing situation. Not only could you face serious legal DUI consequences and/or have your medical or other professional licenses revoked or suspended, but a DUI could also impact your career. These consequences could be especially harsh for people who work in the medical field. Getting a DUI could result in a medical professional losing his/her license and being unable to work.
Hire a Lawyer
Dealing with a DUI isn’t something you should try to do on your own. The first step you should take is to hire a lawyer, ideally one with experience in DUIs and professional licensing. One of the first things your lawyer will be able to do is let you know whether or not your profession is one that could be affected by a DUI. The following professionals will likely need to hire a lawyer to represent them in front of a licensing board:
• Medical Professionals (doctors, EMTs, nurses, medical students, dentists, pharmacists, etc.)
• Insurance Agent
• School Employees (teachers, school board members, school administrators, etc.)
• Massage Therapists
• Commercial Truck Drivers
It’s important to keep in mind that regulation surrounding professional licenses may vary by state. Your attorney will be able to assist you regarding your specific situation. An attorney with professional licensing experience will have an understanding of the impacts that a DUI could have on your career. An attorney who has specific professional license experience will know the ins and outs of dealing with licensing boards, which will be a must in helping you build the strongest case. Your lawyer can then assist in making sure that you don’t have any statements that could incriminate you. For example, in many cases, licensing boards will consider a contested plea as an admittance of guilt.
Get a Proper Evaluation
If you’re a medical or other professional who is charged with a DUI, the first step will be to prove that you don’t have a substance abuse problem. You will need to be evaluated to prove that you do not need any form of counseling or treatment. However, the key is to make sure you are evaluated by a trusted professional. Although healthcare recovery programs for health professionals may seem like a good option, that isn’t always the case. Instead, your lawyer can help you find a Ph.D. or MD who primarily deals with substance abuse issues. They will evaluate you to determine the following:
• It is safe for you to practice/see patients
• Your DUI was an isolated incident
• You do not need to be supervised
• Being monitored/entering a program would not be beneficial to you.
Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer
It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506