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Professional License Defense Lawyers

New York Professional License Lawyer

Attorneys at  Spodek Law Group have spent more than ten years defending the rights of New York licensed professionals, successfully going to bat for hundreds of individuals who were investigated for or accused of professional misconduct by the Office of Professional Discipline (OPD).  Our professional license clients practice in these areas.

The entire healthcare community, including:

Additional professional license clients work in

  • Teaching
  • Accounting
  • Architecture

What you should know about New York Professional License Disciplinary process

New York (as all other states) regulates all professions and has jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute professional misconduct charged against any licensed professional (at times, even when the alleged misconduct occurred in other states). The agency who is responsible for investigating and prosecuting incidences of professional misconduct in New York is the Office of Professional Discipline, known as the OPD.

 

The phrase “professional misconduct” is defined by state Education Law and is surprisingly very extensive, including roughly forty types of activities considered unprofessional or unethical, subjecting the practitioner to disciplinary actions.

 

The most frequent incidences of misconduct that routinely show up in disciplinary decisions are

 

  • Incompetence or negligence or one or more occasions
  • Drawing a criminal conviction of any crime in any jurisdiction
  • Documentation errors
  • Fraudulent practice
  • Practicing beyond the scope of profession
  • Delegating licensed duties to unlicensed persons
  • Breach Of boundaries with patients
  • Practicing while under influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Moral character unfitness
  • Unauthorized release of confidential information

There are more particular types of misconduct that are associated with specific professions such as nursing. Please click over to our Nursing License Defense page here for additional detailed information.

The Office of Professional Discipline operates numerous regional offices throughout the state. After the misconduct complaint is filled with the Office of Professions, the complaint gets delegated to the local regional office where the licensee is registered. In New York City, the main OPD offices are located at the following locations:

1411 Broadway, New York, NY

116 West 32nd Street, New York, NY

9 Bond Street , Brooklyn, NY

2400 Halsey Street, Bronx, NY

These offices handle the matters of all professionals who live in the five boroughs.

Matters involving practitioners in long island get referred to the regional OPD office at 250 Veterans Memorial Highway in Hauppauge, NY.

Regional offices also exist in Albany, Buffalo, Port Chester, Syracuse, and Rochester.

We have worked with every regional OPD office, successfully litigating for all professionals at every stage of their cases.

How Professional Misconduct cases function

All New York professional misconduct cases are tipped off when a complaint is filed against a professional or when the professional self-reports criminal convictions and disciplinary actions to the Department of Education.

When a complaint comes in, the OPD commences an investigation. About 10,000 complaints are filed every year against licensed professionals.  Some get dismissed for lack of sufficient evidence or other insufficiencies. In the course of this investigative process, the licensee who is the target of an investigation will be notified by letter that the Office of the Professions is investigating their practices. This investigator may ask that the licensee submit to an interview or request that they produce records. Let us explain how a licensed professional should and should not respond when notified of a professional misconduct investigation.

If the investigation doesn’t reveal enough evidence of misconduct, it will be closed and the licensee may or may not be notified of the termination. If sufficient evidence of misconduct is discovered, the Investigative Report gets compiled and submitted to an Investigative Committee. A member of the professional Board and the prosecuting attorney examine the report and determine whether they intend to proceed with the case.

At this point, the licensee is given two options. One is attend a full formal hearing (which is like a court trial) and fight the accusations. The other option is to hammer out a compromise with the state, which requires the licensee to accept responsibility for some form of misconduct and a lower sanctions. This is similar to a plea bargain in a criminal case.

Which choice is the best is not usually a clear and cut picture. You need an experienced OPD attorney to guide you through the process and explain all potential benefits, caveats, and consequences of your choice.

What potential sanctions are there for professional misconduct?

Indeed, the most grievous penalty by a longshot is having your license revoked. This is dealt out only for the most serious types of misconduct, which usually encompass conviction of serious crimes, sexual misconduct, and certain versions of gross negligence and incompetence. A good attorney may be able to negotiate a license surrender in lieu of formal revocation. This may carry its own benefits.

Another sanction is license suspension. There are two ways the suspension can occur.  You can have an actual suspension and stayed suspension. Stayed suspensions work with a term of probation and a fine in some cases. The license may be suspended from just one month to as much as several years.

Less severe kinds of discipline include Censure and Reprimand, monetary fines, probation, and administrative warnings. The majority of disciplinary actions are public record, which is to say that the state will make the licensee’s disciplinary record  accessible to the general public. Those disciplinary actions also must be disclosed on future license applications and renewals in other states as well as to potential employers who request such information on employment applications.

What Is the Best Thing to Do When Investigated by the OPD

Now let’s address the most frequent issues that licensed professionals encounter who face professional misconduct investigation.

Our recommendation is to  secure legal counsel immediately, and not only for the fact that this is our business (which, of course it is) but also because, in our experience, the outcome of your matter will depend heavily on what you do and do not do during this critical time frame. When hiring a lawyer to work with you on a professional misconduct investigation, demand someone who is experienced in this specific field as this is a uniquely specialized legal area, which demands some very detailed expertise in the attorney. You would not take your damaged car to a plumber or a doctor. IN the same vein, a general practice attorney or even a criminal defense attorney who is inexperienced in the OPD process may not be able to provide precision legal representation in the kind of case you need help with.

As a licensee, you are definitely obligated to cooperate with the investigation, but you are not required to speak with the investigator and are at liberty to decline their request. If records are requested by the investigator, you may be under obligation to comply and furnish all of what is requested. However, this is not customarily the case and the investigator will probably just ask you for the interview. Be aware that anything you say to the investigator can and will be used against you in the case. You should call our office and have a talk with one of our lawyers before you do anything else.

If you have discovered that you are under investigation by the Office of Professional Misconduct, reach out to Joseph Potashnik and Associates today for an immediate consultation.

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Manhattan

85 Broad Street, 30th Floor
New York, NY 10005

Queens

35-37 36th St,
Astoria, NY 11106

Brooklyn

195 Montague St.
14th Floor,
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Manhattan

85 Broad Street, 30th Floor
New York, NY 10005

Phone

888-977-6335

Queens

35-37 36th St,
Astoria, NY 11106

Phone

888-977-6335

Brooklyn

195 Montague St.
14th Floor,
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Phone

888-977-6335

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