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Criminal Charges and Your Professional License in Arizona

Posted on November 9, 2023 in
Administrative Actions Against Your Professional License in Arizona

Just being charged with a crime in Arizona can trigger a tsunami of collateral consequences including suspension or revocation of your professional license or other administrative actions affecting your professional license. When so much is on the line, responding to or defending yourself against an administrative action is never a “do it yourself” job. You need the assistance of an Arizona criminal defense attorney who has experience in handling administrative actions arising from criminal charges.

Administrative Actions are Independent

Criminal charges, even minor ones, may prompt administrative actions against your professional license in Arizona, but administrative actions are conducted completely independent of the criminal proceedings. Administrative actions are often taken swiftly, and your professional license may be suspended or revoked log before there is a determination of your guilt or innocents in a criminal court.

Licenses Subject to Administrative Actions in Arizona

Losing your license may have more of a negative impact on you and your family than the criminal charges that triggered the administrative action in the first place. Any license issued by the State of Arizona is subject to administrative actions because of criminal charges. A few examples of licenses that may be suspended or revoked are:

  • Driver’s licenses
  • Fishing and game licenses
  • Trade licenses
  • Medical and dental licenses
  • Guard licenses
  • Other professional licenses

Reporting the Matter May Be as Important as Defending the Issue

Many licenses require you to self-report. This will depend on the license and the type of crime or accusation. THE FAILURE TO TIMELY REPORT MAY BE MORE DAMNING THAN ANY OUTCOME IN A CRIMINAL MATTER. And, how you report the incident may also be more important than any formal court outcome.

You really need to know when you…

  • Are you required to report when being investigated?
  • Are you required to report on your arrest?
  • Are you only required to report when formally charged?
  • Are you only required to report if convicted?

And you really need to know how to phrase the report to minimize the damage and evidence that may be used against you?

Administrative Hearings in Arizona

Administrative hearings are conducted like most legal hearings in Arizona but there are some differences. An administrative hearing on a professional license is conducted in a slightly less formal way in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ). Typically, an administrative hearing will be conducted like a bench trial: no jury present.

The ALJ alone will make the decision about the fate of your professional license, and like any court trial, the ALJ may allow your attorney to present evidence and testimony to support your case. One of the biggest differences with an administrative hearing is the lower burden of proof and how the rules of evidence and other rules are not as strict in administrative law hearings.

Unlike a criminal trial where the State is required to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, the administrative hearing only requires the State/Board to prove its case by a preponderance of the evidence…. in other words, is the evidence more likely or not that you violated whatever rule or standard you are on trial for.

Some examples of professional license administrative case heard by administrative law judges in Arizona are:

  • Complaints against psychologists and therapists
  • Complaints against nurses
  • Suspension hearings against behavioral health professionals
  • Hearings involving pharmacists
  • Hearings against real estate professionals
  • Disciplinary hearing against doctors and physicians
  • Hearings against contractors

Most administrative actions have strict deadlines and response requirements which is why you should contact a criminal defense attorney with experience in handling administrative actions against your professional license right away, even if you have not yet been formally charged with a crime. Getting a qualified Arizona attorney involved early in your case greatly increases the chances of a favorable outcome.

What Happens if Your Professional License has been Suspend or Revoked?

Having your professional license suspended or revoked in Arizona may seem like your worst nightmare. That is why you should get a top Phoenix attorney on your side a soon as possible. This is not a time to bargain shop. Get the best attorney you can afford because keeping your license is far easier and less expensive than trying to get it back. However, if your professional license has already been suspended or revoked, there is an appeal process that makes it possible to appeal the outcome of the suspension to the Superior Court. Another option may be to petition for a rehearing with the licensing board. Your attorney will help you to decide what is the best course of action in your case.

Chose the Right Lawyer

Howard Snader is a Board-Certified Criminal Defense Attorney in Arizona with decades of experience handling criminal cases and administrative hearings for professional licenses. Understanding how criminal charges may affect your professional license and how to best present your case to an administrative law judge is a skillset few Arizona attorneys have, and it could give you an edge when it comes to retaining your professional license. Contact the Snader Law Group in Phoenix today for a free assessment of your case. You will be glad you did.