This is the next post in my series on how Arizona professionals may defend their licenses when facing allegations of misconduct from their respective licensing board. My last post focused on a professional’s right to due process during disciplinary proceedings. It is important to understand that the suspension of one’s license is not an “automatic” occurrence and that professionals are entitled to certain rights. In this article I will focus on the process of presenting one’s defense before the applicable licensing authorities.
Professional disciplinary hearings in Arizona, and elsewhere throughout the US, are not decided by a Jury. When one holds a professional license in an area such as nursing, accounting, or another field, then allegations of misconduct they are typically decided by a peer or group of peers. These peers are typically others in the same field (such as a practicing R.N. overseeing the disciplinary hearing of another registered nurse). If the hearing is overseen by a panel of such professionals then one member of the panel will “lead” the hearing. The person leading the hearing will be in charge of deciding objections, deciding whether evidence should be admitted, etc. It is important to have this understanding that such hearings, whether held in Phoenix or elsewhere in our state, are heard by other professionals and not a judge.
Another key difference in the presentation of one’s professional licensing defense is the fact that the decision makers will have a great deal of discretion. By this I mean that the decision makers have more latitude in deciding whether or not evidence should be admitted, whether witnesses should be allowed to testify, and in weighing the evidence for a final ruling. This increased latitude can make the process somewhat more predictable than the procedure one faces when charged with a misdemeanor. In a criminal case the Judge will be bound by rules of evidence which have been interpreted, at length, by higher courts. These are some of the reasons why it is crucial that one hire an attorney who is familiar with the difference between criminal cases and professional licensing hearings.
I represent professionals in Phoenix, and throughout Maricopa County, who are charged with some form of violation in regards to their license. I am available to assist accountants, nurses, school teachers, psychologists, therapists, and a wide range of other professionals. At your initial consultation I will take steps to help you understand the process you are facing and ensure that you know what to expect as the case moves forward. Contact my office today to speak with a lawyer. Contact my office today to schedule an initial consultation. I also handle cases in cities such as Mesa, Glendale, Scottsdale, Chandler, and Gilbert. I also assist Pima County residents in Tucson and others throughout the state.