Defense Attorneys for Licensed Professionals

Howell, Buchan & Strong - Professional License Defense Attorneys in Florida

Frequently Asked Questions

The following information is provided as a general guide to the potential situations, outcomes, and strategies you could experience during the course of the complaint process. The following information should not be understood as creating a lawyer/client relationship. Every complaint is unique and for this reason, the general information below might not be applicable and you should contact an experienced health care attorney to discuss your rights and options.

What should I do if I receive a complaint?

You should contact an attorney experienced in dealing with agencies of the State of Florida. Gather all of the documents the State sent or served on you, plus any other letters, correspondence, or notes and be prepared to review them with the attorney. If you don’t respond to a notice from the State of Florida in a timely manner you could possibly lose your right to challenge the actions of the government.

Should I speak with the Investigator?

Generally speaking, you should avoid giving statements to government investigators who are looking into a complaint against you. Remember, any statement that you provide to the agency or its attorneys may be used against you. Many people who speak with me about their situation are under the mistaken impression that they can charm or endear themselves to the agency investigator in the hopes of cutting a deal or getting the investigation terminated. This is naïve. Investigators and attorneys for the government take their jobs very seriously.

Certain licensees have a legal obligation to give a statement to the agency, however in any event you should consult an experienced attorney before speaking with state agency investigators.

What happens after a complaint has been filed against me or my license has been denied?

You are usually given a deadline to respond or appeal the actions of the state agency. If an agency receives information that a licensee may have violated the law governing that business or profession, it may commence an investigation and possible disciplinary proceedings. The State is required to notify you of the decision and provide you with rights to appeal or submit a response.

I received an Emergency Suspension Order (ESO) can I still work?

No. The ESO is issued in extreme cases where the government believes the licensee is an immediate threat to the safety and welfare of the public. The license is suspended from the date that the ESO is filed with the Agency Clerk (see the upper left corner of the ESO front page for date stamp). You should immediately have an experienced health care attorney review the ESO. Some are issued wrongfully and not in accordance with the law. It may be possible to challenge the issuance of the ESO. Otherwise, a hearing is scheduled within months of the ESO in front of an administrative board.

If I have a Criminal Record Should I Disclose it in My Application?

Yes. When in doubt disclose it. Applicants are denied a license for failing to disclose criminal records. Never make the assumption that the state agency will not find or uncover a past criminal record or conviction. In instances where an applicant lies about his/her criminal past when the agency finds out after the license is issued, the agency will proceed to revoke the license after the fact. Seek experienced counsel to review your particular situation.

I have a criminal conviction or arrest. Can I get a license in Florida?

It depends. Some types of convictions will bar you from licensure. Others have a required disqualification period. Even if you are disqualified from licensure, you can sometimes remove the disqualification by presenting legally recognized mitigating factors.

What law governs my situation?

It depends on the nature of your case and the specific agency of state government you are dealing with. Generally speaking, if you are challenging a final action of a state agency, Chapter 120, Florida Statutes sets forth the procedures. However, each state agency has specific laws and rules which govern the type of business or professional license you have. Laws which govern licensing, disciplinary action, and emergency suspensions or restrictions, including time limits, notice requirements, and the criteria that must be met for emergency licensure actions are found within various provisions of the Florida Statutes or the Florida Administrative Code.

What type of cases does your firm handle?

Our attorneys are experienced in handling a wide variety of cases involving the Department of Financial Services, Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Department of Health, Agency for Health Care Administration, Department of Education, and other state and federal agencies.

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