FAQ’s in Professional Licensing Defense Cases
Are you a medical doctor, psychologist, nurse, LNA, or other professional licensed by the State of Michigan?
If so, you understand that your license is your livelihood. Have you ever had a complaint filed against your license with the State?
Do you have a pending complaint right now? If so, this can be a fearful time. And rightfully so.
The State of Michigan can suspend, and in egregious cases, can terminate your license.
There is something you can do about it. You are allowed to have an attorney represent you in any proceedings that are instituted against your license by the Bureau of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
The State of Michigan has an Assistant Attorney General prosecuting these cases.
You NEED to have a Michigan attorney who is competent to handle these matters by your side to defend you.
Why Do I Need An Attorney?
As a professional defending your license, it is pivotal that you have representation to help you defend against these administrative violations. Unlike in a criminal proceeding, you do not have the right to an attorney, and if you do not hire one, the State of Michigan is not going to provide you with one.
However, if you are charged with an administrative violation, the punishment could be just as draconian as with some criminal cases. You could have your license suspended or terminated, meaning that you would be prohibited from practicing your profession for a period of time, or, barred from doing so ever again in Michigan.
What Does the Administrative Complaint Process Look Like?
First, you must always remember that the administrative complaint process is a legal one.
There are rules and regulations that control how these proceedings are to be handled, and they are not straightforward.
The process goes as follows. Someone, usually a patient or a patient’s family member, will call the agency and lodge a formal complaint. The State of Michigan then has administrative investigators, one of whom will be assigned to the case, who go out and conduct an investigation. During that investigation, or once it is done, the State of Michigan will file the complaint with the Administrative Agency, instituting an official legal proceeding. A copy of the complaint will then be mailed to you, often times accompanied by a legal demand for you to produce certain documents related to the case.
Once a complaint is issued against your license, you only have a set number of days to answer the complaint. The State will have done an independent investigation of the allegations, but they are not automatically required to provide you with all of the information that they gathered. A good attorney, however, knows what to ask for and how to ask for it. Further, there will be opportunities to negotiate with the Assistant Attorney General who is assigned to the case to try and resolve it. Sometimes those negotiations can result in a dismissal of the claim, though that is a rare outcome. However, in many cases, a sanction that is much less than a suspension or termination can be negotiated, which will minimize the damage that your professional reputation might suffer.
And, if the worst happens and a settlement can’t be negotiated, these administrative complaints are presented to an Administrative Law Judge. In other words, if you can’t work it out, there is an administrative trial. Evidence is presented, as permitted by the Administrative Rules and the Michigan Rules of Evidence. You need an experienced attorney, who has REAL trial experience and who understands these rules, by your side, to help present your case and represent your interests. Going down this road alone, especially if your matter is a serious one, isn’t a good idea. Get advice, and get help from a Michigan lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to present your case in the best possible way, and who knows how to protect your license.
Grosse Pointe Farms, MI 48236