The Right to an Attorney in California Administrative Hearings and Professional License Discipline Matters

by | Jun 15, 2024 | CA Professional License Complaints

California professional license holders as well as professional license applicants have due process rights which include the right to have an attorney represent them during all stages of their administrative law case. This means that if you are a California medical doctor, nurse, pharmacist, chiropractor, physical therapist, dentist, certified public accountant, psychologist, respiratory therapist, real estate broker, insurance agent, credentialed teacher, or any other licensed professional or professional license applicant you have the right to an attorney if your applicable governing board or agency is seeking to revoke, suspend, deny or otherwise discipline your license.

Professional license discipline proceedings often include the issuance of either an Accusation or a Statement of Issues from the licensing board or agency be it the CA Medical Board, the CA Department of Consumer Affairs, the CA Dental Board, the CA Board of Registered Nursing, the CA Commission on Teacher Credentialing, the CA Chiropractic Board, the CA Board of Pharmacy, the CA Department of Insurance, the CA Bureau of Real Estate, the CA Physical Therapy Board, the CA Board of Psychology, the CA Board of Behavioral Sciences, the CA Department of Social Services, the State Bar of California, CA Vocational Nursing Board, the CA Board of Public Accountancy, or any other CA licensing board or agency.

By law, when a CA professional licensing board issues an Accusation or Statement of Issues, they are to inform the recipient of their right to legal counsel i.e. an administrative attorney or professional license defense attorney (see CA Government Code section 11509). As such, the Accusation or Statement of Issues is normally accompanied by a Notice of Defense which allows the licensee or license applicant to write in the name and contact information of their attorney to send back to the board.

In fact, the right to an attorney guaranteed by the due process rights in the CA Administrative Adjudications Bill of Rights (CA Government Code sections 11425.10-11425.60) as well as the U.S. and CA Constitutions, applies even before the CA licensing agency issues the Accusation or Statement of Issues. Thus, if you are a CA licensed professional, such as a doctor, nurse or dentist, and you are contacted by an investigator with the CA Department of Consumer Affairs, you have the right to have an attorney represent you in all of your contacts and correspondences with the DCA and its investigators. Moreover, it is highly advisable that if you are contacted by your CA licensing board and/or its investigators or enforcement unit, that you engage the services of a professional license defense attorney right away.

Nonetheless, even if you have an upcoming administrative hearing in CA (most likely in Sacramento, Oakland, Los Angeles, or San Diego), it is still not too late to hire an administrative law/administrative hearing attorney to represent you at the hearing. Again, you have a right to an attorney at all CA administrative hearings and it is important that you exercise that right otherwise you will find yourself facing an administrative law judge and a deputy attorney general all alone with your career on the line.

If you are a CA licensed professional or are applying for a CA professional license and are facing the potential discipline or denial of your license, contact CA Professional License Defense Attorney Jonathan Turner right away.


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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