What to Expect at a Professional License Disciplinary Hearing

October 29, 2021
The Law Firm of J.W. Stafford

Disciplinary spelled with blocks

Generally speaking, all licensed professionals in the state of Maryland are under the authority of their specific licensing board. Physicians, for example, are governed by the Maryland Board of Physicians, while realtors are governed by the Maryland Real Estate Commission. Each Board has its own unique procedures when it comes to handling disciplinary matters, but generally speaking, there will first be an investigation. If the investigation determines that there is a valid disciplinary issue, the matter will eventually be scheduled for a hearing before the licensing Board. 

Many professionals make the mistake of thinking that this hearing is essentially a conversation about why they should or shouldn’t be punished – a mistake that costs them their license. If you’re a licensed professional facing disciplinary proceedings, a Maryland employment attorney can help you defend your license. 

Your Hearing Will Be a Quasi-Judicial Proceeding

While your hearing will not be as formal as a trial, it will proceed similarly to one. A member of the disciplinary board will likely chair the hearing and act as a sort of judge, controlling the proceedings and keeping them on track. The remainder of the Board members will act as a jury. The governing body of your profession, such as the Attorney Grievance Commission, will probably be represented by counsel. Ultimately, the purpose of the hearing will be twofold: 

  1. To determine whether or not the allegations in the complaint are true; and
  2. To decide what punishment, if any, is appropriate. 

It is important to note, however, that the proceedings can also be significantly different from a trial. Many of the rights and protections afforded to criminal defendants will not apply to your hearing. For example, you can be compelled to testify before the Board, and there is no 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination. A Maryland employment attorney can explain how the hearing will proceed so that you are fully prepared. 

You Have the Right to Be Represented at Your Hearing by a Maryland Employment Attorney

At this point, feeling like the deck is stacked against you is a reasonable conclusion. One of the most important rights that professionals have, however, is the right to be represented by counsel at the hearing. A lawyer who is experienced in professional license defense can be a powerful advocate, as they can focus the Board’s attention on specific facts or other circumstances that are in your favor. They can speak on your behalf, know when to note objections, and generally present a compelling and persuasive case. To put it another way, a Maryland employment attorney can help level the playing field. 

There Will Be Evidence

As part of the hearing, both sides will have the opportunity to submit evidence and call witnesses. You should expect that counsel for your licensing body will do both. However, even if they did not, the Board may be able to refer to the evidence that has already been collected as part of the investigation. This is unlike a criminal trial, where the jury has no knowledge of your case prior to the hearing. 

As a result, you should plan on submitting your own evidence and calling your own witnesses if you are able to. In addition, any evidence and testimony should be organized, clear, and easily understood. A Maryland employment attorney can help you prepare your evidence and witnesses in order to build a powerful defense. 

Your Hearing Will Likely Be Recorded

Your hearing will most likely be “on the record,” i.e. it may be recorded in some fashion. A court reporter may be present in order to transcribe everything that is said. At some point, the record of the hearing may be available to the public. Perhaps more importantly, the record of your hearing will be vital in the event that you need to appeal the disciplinary board’s decision. As a result, it is important that you be clear and consistent with regard to anything you say at the hearing. A Maryland employment attorney can help you prepare any statements you make and anticipate questions that you may need to respond to. 

Contact Maryland Employment Attorney J.W. Stafford if You Are Facing Disciplinary Proceedings

You worked hard to get your license and depend on it to make a living. An adverse decision as a result of a complaint could not only damage your reputation but also result in the suspension or revocation of your license. Maryland Employment attorney J.W. Stafford can help you navigate the process and get a fair result. Contact us today at 410-514-6099 to discuss your case – the sooner you call, the sooner we can help.