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Professional License Discipline & Stipulated Settlement Agreements

by | Apr 1, 2024 | Administrative Law

California Administrative Law

Initially a California licensing board or agency, such as the Commission on Teacher Credentialing, Board of Registered Nursing, Board of Behavioral Sciences, or Department of Consumer Affairs, will seek to deny, suspend or revoke a license based on an allegation of misconduct such as a criminal conviction or fraud.

Normally, this intent to discipline is expressed in either a letter from the board to the licensee or through a formal complaint (Accusation or Statement of Issues). At this point the license holder or applicant has no options other than to either accept the discipline effectively jeopardizing their career, or request an administrative hearing contesting the discipline before an administrative law judge (ALJ).

However, often such administrative law cases can be resolved via a stipulated agreement or resolution between the licensing agency and the licensee before the case goes to a formal administrative hearing. Having handled hundreds of professional license matters since 1998 I know that with the assistance of a professional license defense attorney, a settlement that saves the licensee’s career can often be worked out. For example, many times I have had professional license applicants such as teachers and nurses who had their application denied by their corresponding board. After requesting an administrative hearing I have assisted my clients in clearing their criminal history and/or presenting mitigating evidence and documentation to the board’s attorney. As a result, the board has agreed to issue my client their desired license while perhaps placing them on probation with the board. (Note, each California professional licensing board has its own terms and conditions of probation.)

Other times, I have represented licensed professionals, including therapists, accountants, psychologists, insurance agents, and court reporters whose licenses are threatened with suspension or revocation due to misconduct and/or a criminal conviction. Again, numerous times I have been able to persuade the board and its attorneys, prior to administrative hearing, to agree to drop the proposed suspension or revocation in exchange for probation.

If settlement with the board or agency attorney cannot be accomplished informally, then there is the opportunity to request a pre-hearing settlement conference to take place before an ALJ at the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH). There, the ALJ gets involved in trying to get the parties to reach an agreement.

Stipulated settlement agreements between CA professional licensing agencies and licensees entail a complex process best navigated with the assistance of an experienced professional license defense attorney. Also, the agreements themselves are complex legal documents with legal terms of art that should not be entered into without consulting an administrative law attorney.

If you are a professional or seek to become one in such professions as teaching, nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, psychology, medicine, pharmacy, chiropractics, etc… and the licensing agency is investigating your “moral fitness” to hold the license, contact administrative law lawyer Sacramento California Jonathan Turner for a free consultation.


If you received a denial of a professional license or any threat to your ability to continue practicing your profession, please contact attorney Jonathan Turner using this contact form or call (916) 471-6506 for a personal conversation.

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