IDFPR has contacted me regarding allegations of misconduct. Do I need an attorney?
You are not required to retain the services of an attorney, however it is prudent to do so. It is also recommended that you seek an attorney who is familiar with IDFPR statutes and administraive rules and experienced in representing professionals before the IDFPR board. Once you have secured an attorney’s services, IDFPR is prohibited from communicating with you directly without your or your attorney’s approval. Furthermore, an attorney can speak with the department’s investigators to determine what the allegations are and what preparations need to be made to prepare a defense.
If I hire an attorney to represent me at an informal hearing with IDFPR, won’t that make me look “guilty”?
Your being represented before the IDFPR by an attorney is not interpreted by the department porofessionals as either guilt or innocence. In fact, it presents you to IDFPR as an astute professional who takes his or her professional license seriously. Having legal representation whenever you are dealing with governing agencies is a sign of wisdom and good judgment, not guilt.
I was contacted by IDFPR and told that I am under investigation; what should I do?
Call an attorney immediately – one with experience in dealing with IDFPR. If IDFPR contacts you again, tell them that you are in the process of hiring an attorney and that your attorney will contact them soon. IDFPR investigators are trained professionals who cleverly acquire information about you by asking questions about seemingly irrelevant matters. The existence of an attorney-client relationship will stop any further direct communication between you and the department.
I have an informal conference scheduled before the IDFPR. Do I need a lawyer?
Although you are not required to have a lawyer with you, it is in your best interest to do so.You will be prosecuted by the department’s attorney and his supervisor will most likely be counseling him. Therefore, there will be two (2) attorneys representing the department. If you have no legal representation, you will be at a serious disadvantage. IDFPR’s statutes and administrative rules are complex. Even if you are innocent of misconduct or have mitigating evidence to offer, proving it up pursuant to statute or department rules requires legal knowledge and experience that may be beyond your abilities.
I have had an informal conference with IDFPR and have been offered a disciplinary order that is unreasonable or unacceptable to me. What are my options?
You can negotiate the terms of the order or reject it, in which case the department will file formal charges against you. If you are unwilling to accept the offer, then obtaining legal representation is wise. Successful negotiation requires an understanding of the department’s case. To successfully combat the department in a formal administrative hearing requires technical knowledge of IDFPR rules, the Administrative Act and evidentiary rules and procedures. This is best handled by an attorney who has negotiation and litigation experience with IDFPR.
The IDFPR has filed formal charges against me. Do I need a lawyer?
At this point, the only thing that stands in the way of your license being revoked or suspended is the formal administrative hearing. Therefore, your case requires the polished presentation of an attorney who is familiar with IDFPR formal administrative statutes and rules and experienced in formal administrative hearings. Representing yourself through this process puts you and your license at a severely unfair disadvantage. Remember, the department has a team of investigators and lawyers preparing its case against you. It is in your best interest to also have competent legal representation.
I have been convicted of a crime. Is my professional license in jeopardy?
The IDFPR has its own statutes and rules regarding criminal convictions and licensee misconduct. For example, physicians, dentists and pharmacists operate under the rules of the Medical Practice Act. It is best to speak with an attorney regarding your particular situation as the facts and circumstances surrounding your arrest and conviction can alter the department’s position. In some cases a conviction for certain offenses requires a mandatory suspension or revocation of your professional license, unless it can be demonstrated that the continued issuance of the license would be in the best interest of the public and the licensee. Under such circumstances, it is prudent to have an attorney represent you before the department and put forth the evidence that is statutorily required for continued licensure.
I have been charged with a DUI. Will this affect my professional license and what should I do next?
Contact a criminal attorney immediately to represent you on the criminal case and explain to the lawyer your concerns about your professional license. It is advisable for your criminal lawyer to contact an attorney who is familiar with the licensing statutes and the attitude the board towards DUI and chemical dependency. In some cases, a proactive approach can overcome the department’s presumption that an arrest or conviction for DUI means that you are chemically dependent and need to be in a monitoring program or under a disciplinary order. Our firm can recommend criminal attorneys who are experienced in dealing with IDFPR.
I was fired because I was accused of, or caught, diverting controlled substances. How will this affect my professional license?
Under these circumstances, the potential for the filing of criminal charges by state or federal authorities, the filing of misconduct charges by your licensing agency, an attempt by the DEA to revoke your controlled substances license and the loss of your ability to seek reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid are all possibilities. You need to obtain competent legal representation immediately to intervene on your behalf and help you proceed through the process. Whether you admit to or deny the allegations, whether you want recovery help or not, this is not a situation you should try to handle by yourself. Moreover, once you are represented by an attorney, the authorities are prohibited from talking to you unless you knowingly waive your right to have counsel present.
As a result of an IDFPR disciplinary action against me, the insurance companies are dropping me as a network provider. Do I have any recourse?
Insurance companies view a variety of disciplinary actions differently. Knowing the insurance company and the findings contained in the disciplinary record are crucial. The facts and circumstances surrounding the misconduct can also determine the outcome. Successful appeals, reapplications and continued participation can often be achieved via forceful advocacy, with the proper assertion and use of mitigation evidence. These appeals and notices are best handled by an experienced attorney, as the recent imposition of a disciplinary sanction puts you at a distinct disadvantage when representing yourself.
I am applying for a professional license and I have a criminal record. Can I be licensed?
This is a complicated matter and is at the heart of a great many licensure disputes and disciplinary actions brought against licensees. Generally, sex offenders have the hardest time getting licensed, as do individuals who have committed a fiduciary crime or a crime that involves moral turpitude. The burden is not necessarily insurmountable, but it is a process that is best handled by an attorney with experience in this area. Many agencies will issue probationary, provisional or restrictive licenses after an initial hearing on your current moral character and fitness. It is wise to have counsel to help you prepare your application and advocate for you through the process of gathering mitigating and rehabilitative evidence.
The IDFPR wants to suspend or revoke my license. What should I do?
Hire a lawyer who is experienced in dealing wit the IDFPR. When the department becomes aware that they will have a fight on their hands, sometimes their position towards the disciplinary process is altered. In serious cases they will proceed anyway, but often the reality of a long fight tends to aid in negotiations or settlement. In any event, your license is your livelihood and to give up your privileges without the fair assertion of your rights is tantamount to quitting. Finally, it is the department’s burden to prove that you are not fit to practice in order to revoke your license; it is your attorney’s job to prove tha tyou are fit upon reapplication. A good strategy would be to keep the burden on the agency while gathering defensive, mitigation and rehabilitative evidence.