New York OPD Disciplinary Hearing Defense Attorney
The Office of Professional Discipline (OPD) is part of the New York State Education Department. The office investigates and prosecutes reports of professional misconduct. Professional misconduct is defined as negligence, fraud, practicing beyond the scope of the profession, being convicted of a crime, disclosing confidential information without authorization, being sexually or physically abusive, or practicing under the influence of alcohol or drugs, among other behavior.
It is important to realize that the office investigates all complaints, regardless of merit. Therefore, all OPD complaints and investigations should be taken seriously as they can harm a licensed professional’s career and professional reputation. OPD investigators have broad authority that allows them to question employees and demand copies of a professional’s office records as part of their investigations.
The OPD may issue administrative warnings or advisory letters for first-time violations or minor forms of misconduct. No penalty is imposed in such cases, and the matter does not become part of public record. However, serious cases of professional misconduct may result in disciplinary hearings, which are formal administrative hearings.
During a hearing, charges and evidence are presented before a committee. A formal hearing can lead to fines of up to $10,000 per violation, a suspension or license revocation, depending on the nature of the misconduct. Both the government and the accused individual may call witnesses to support their case. As a result, it is essential to be prepared for the hearing and have carefully selected defense witnesses.
In New York State, the Board of Regents is responsible for taking final action on all serious disciplinary cases except those handled by the Office of Professional Medical Conduct. The Board of Regents licenses individuals in over 50 professions and oversees the State Education Department. The board’s decision can be challenged in court. However, the case becomes a matter of public record once the Board of Regents makes a final determination. It can therefore have negative impact on a professional’s future.
The OPD also has the authority to monitor the disciplined professional to ensure they are meeting probationary terms, such as participating in education or periodically reporting to their employer. In addition, the OPD can prevent a professional from engaging in practice pending the final resolution of misconduct proceedings.
It is important for individuals facing an OPD investigation for professional misconduct to have an experienced attorney involved as early as possible to provide guidance throughout the complex disciplinary process. Brill Legal Group has extensive experience in disciplinary hearings, with attorneys that are uniquely qualified to provide licensed professionals with skilled representation. There is no time to waste as professional misconduct charges can put one’s license and career on the line.