Website for Professional License Revocation and Suspension Disciplinary Proceedings

Initial Publication: 1998; Last Update: 10/29/06 15:31
  1. Purpose of Website: To Create Opportunity for Licensed Professionals to Obtain the Information They Need to Know to Protect Themselves from Wrongful Loss of Their License and Right to Engage in Their Profession or Business
  2. Licensing: a Constitutionally Protected Property Right: When considering or discussing a license to engage in a profession or business, a most important thing to remember is that the license is a valuable property right which for which the licensee has various constitutional rights, including the right not to have the license prematurely terminated, suspended or curtailed without compliance with due process. In other words, a licensee's license has much the same type of protection as the licensee's house or bank account.
  3. The Types of Licenses At Issue in This Website: There are various types of licenses, such as licenses to drive a car, drive a motorcycle, sell beer or liquor, and operate a gas station. Generally, this type of license is not what this website has been designed to discuss. Instead, this website is concerned with licenses which are required for an individual professional or businessperson to engage in his/her business or profession, such as a medical license, architect license, dentist license, nurse license, chiropractor license, pilot license, radio or television broadcast license, and proprietary or non-profit school license -- all licenses in which the licensee has a major investment of money and time, and without which the person will probably be destroyed financially, socially and psychologically. The website is less concerned about any required licenses to drive a car or bus, cut or style hair, or trip finger nails, which licenses are relatively easy to acquire and for which occupations there usually are many suitable, more rewarding alternatives to the threatened licensee.
  4. State or Federal Licenses: This website is concerned generally about licenses issued by federal or state organizations, including required approvals (in instances such as schools and doctors) by accrediting organizations or other peer groups. Federal licensing issues are, obviously, pretty much the same regardless of the state involved. State licensing, however, differs from state to state, but many of the limitations imposed on licensing authorities stem from federal constitutional law or related constitutional provisions in the state involved. Generally, many of the considerations are the same regardless of the state licensing law or regulatory authority involved.
  5. Nature of the License Revocation or License Suspension Proceeding: When a federal or state administrative agency has determined to try to take a license away from one of its licensees, the agency is required to adhere to certain agency rules and to constitutional principles requiring that the licensee not be deprived of his license without notice and an opportunity to be heard, and that there by a showing of cause by the agency. The various stages involved differ from one agency to another but collectively adds up to a license revocation or suspension proceeding which can and often does result in the permanent or temporary loss of the license to the licensee. The earlier that a licensee seeks professional help the better he/she should be able to defense against partial or full loss of the license. Thus, seek legal help as soon as possible, even if the legal help remains behind the scenes at the outset. You need to be briefed on what to do and what to expect, even if you do not reveal to the licensing authority that you have retained counsel.
  6. Stages of Your Licensing Problem: The stages will differ somewhat from one license or authority to another, but generally speaking we have to consider (i) the licensee's background and prior problems with the agency; (ii) identify the probable complainant or reason for the threatened license suspension, license revocation or other license disciplinary proceeding (such as a patient, client or customer seeking revenge, or misinformed, or seeking to get an unwarranted payment; or in some cases a or seemingly legitimate complainant for which the agency could decide to go after your license; (iii) the agency's investigation of the facts alleged by the complainant without your awareness of the investigation; (iv) the first call from the agency official or regulator indicating that they want to talk with you about a problem which has arisen (make sure you have a lawyer at this point); (v) the waiting period, for the agency to decide what to do about your license; (vi) the shoe drops, when you hear from the agency that it has decided that it has enough against you to go forward with its investigation; (vii) additional due-process steps; (viii) the evidentiary hearing before an agency tribunal and agency-appointed hearing officer or administrative judge; (ix) your in-agency appellate review rights and the importance of exercising then, or waive your rights to go into court; (x) your rights to turn to the courts for relief; (xi) additional court steps; and (xii) continued prospects with the agency even after disciplinary revocation or suspension. This is just a rough outline of things and stages to be considered when a licensee is caught in an agency proceeding to revoke, suspend or curtail his/her license.
  7. A Look at the Regulators: Regulators basically are bureaucrats who draw a salary whether they are right or wrong in deciding to go after your license; also, they are generally protected against loss of their job by administrative red tape (also called due process) which often limits adverse changes in their employment. There will be various persons involved in the agency in attempting to take away your license, including high officials, investigators, one or more attorneys, board members (usually including successful members of the profession involved, and members from the public, who generally are politically prominent persons). Within the agency, the attorney who prosecutes you and takes away your license seems to benefit the most from the prosecution, and can expect to rise in statute and pay within the agency, and thereby make himself/herself available for higher political office for his/her success in prosecuting you (and thers). It is important to note that there seems to be little detriment involved for the prosecutor in taking away a license from an innocent licensee.
  8. The Administrative Judge or Hearing Officer You would think that the judge or hearing officer involved in your dispute with the agency would be a neutral party, but this generally is not the case. The "judge" is either an employee of the agency (who wants to be promoted within the agency), or is an attorney hired by the agency who wants to be hired again by the agency. Thus, either type of judge has the agency's interests in his mind, not yours. What you have to do is offset this imbalance with the types of activities available to you and your attorney, to make the battle over your license one in which you have a much better chance to win.
  9. Things You Can Do to Help Yourself I wish there were a list of things I can tell you to do which will give you a much better chance to prevail in the licensing dispute; but any such list is something which needs to be compiled based on the specific facts in your case and the speed in which you get a lawyer to help you. There are things which can be done, but as time passes, some of the things which could have been done, possibly, are not longer available as options to you. So, the first thing you should do is discuss your problem with a lawyer who knows about license revocation and license suspension proceedings, as well as civil and criminal litigation; these are areas of law which your lawyer should have some familiarity with, to maximize his/her help to you.
  10. Statute of Limitations; Laches; and Estoppel: In the preceding paragraph, I indicated that somethings might be able to be done for you but that it depends on the speed which which you start defending yourself properly. This speed problem is a reference to the various statute of limitations which may preclude you from taking a variety of actions to help yourself. There may be a statute of limitations requiring you to act within 90 days or less, something which states and cities have enacted into law to prevent injured persons from seeking to hold the state or city liable for misconduct. Also, failure to act promptly to obtain equitable remedies (such as an injunction or a writ of prohibition) may invoke the related doctrine of "laches", which precludes you from obtaining equitable relief because of your delay in requesting such relief. Finally, delays may give rise to an "estoppel" situation in which your failure to act and the agency's reliance upon such failure to act may cause you to be "estopped" from asserting the agency's conduct because the agency has relied on your inaction to their detriment. This is just a beginning of the legal folderol which can be and often is raised to preclude relief from being granted to a wronged individual. You should seek help with your licensing problem as soon as possible to reduce the great risk that inaction will cause you to lose some or all of your rights through application of one or more of the statute of limitations or the doctrines of laches or estoppel.
  11. To Talk about a Specific Problem, Call Attorney Carl Person: I have deal with licensing issues for more than 35 years and do not charge any fees to find out and discuss what is happening with respect to your license. The quickest way to reach me is to call me at my office,


    or to fax a letter to me at


    . I'm not providing my e-mail address because I do not read my e-mail each day and your problem may be one requiring a fast response. Yet, if you insist on sending e-mail to me, you can use my Lawmall Response Form in the next paragraph.
  12. Willingness to Speak to Professional Groups or Associations: If you would like me (Carl Person) to talk with a professional group about any of these licensing problems, please give me a call. The subject is of great importance and should prove interesting. As said above, you can call me at my office,


    or fax a letter to me, at


  13. LawMall Response Form
  14. Prosecutorial Abuse and Prosecutorial Misconduct Website: The persons who are seeking to deprive you of your license are prosecutors, to deprive you of your property interest in your license. You should become familiar with various limitations imposed on criminal prosecutors, because many of such limitations apply to civil prosecutors as well. Click on Prosecutorial Abuse Website

Carl E. Person, Director, LawMall,

For the c.v. (resume) of Carl E. Person, click on Carl Person C.V.

Copyright © 1998, 2006 by Carl E. Person