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Under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), California professional or occupational license holders are entitled to a due process hearing to determine the legitimacy of any allegations made against them. You will receive a written notice, after which you may request a hearing with the statewide Office of Administrative Hearings.

Unlike our judicial system involving trials by judge or jury, an administrative hearing is ultimately decided by the licensing board, agency, bureau or department. Even if the administrative law judge issues a decision in your favor, the Proposed Decision can be modified and/or rejected by the state board, agency, bureau or department.

Administrative hearings differ from judicial hearings, which involve trial by judge or jury. An administrative hearing is determined by the specific licensing board, agency, bureau, or department. The board can modify or reject a proposed decision, even if the administrative judge decides in your favor.

Once the Administrative Law Judge has made a proposed decision, the board has 100 days to adopt, modify, or reject it. If it chooses to reject the proposed decision, it must deliver its own to replace it. This may happen if the board decides that the judge (a) did not understand the facts correctly, (b) did not apply the law correctly, or (c) was too forgiving. The board’s decision can be appealed if a Motion for Reconsideration is filed. If a Motion for Reconsideration is not filed within the time deadlines, the board’s decision will become final.

Once a decision is made, the administrative agency has up to 100 days to either:

  • Adopt the proposed decision
  • Modify the proposed decision
  • Reject the proposed decision

If the agency rejects the proposed decision, it will issue its own decision. This happens in cases when an agency feels the judge did not interpret the facts properly, did not apply the law properly, made a mistake in some fashion and/or was too lenient. The agency’s decision becomes final if a Motion for Reconsideration is not timely filed. Otherwise, the decision can be appealed to Superior Court as long as the appeal is within the time deadlines.

The State Board Investigation Stage

If you or your attorney discover a complaint has been filed or is being reviewed, it may be possible to “nip it in the bud” at the investigative stage. Hence, it is important to obtain experienced legal counsel at the very earliest stage of an administrative case, whether informal or formal.

As your personal California Professional State Licensing Attorneys, Spital & Associates will develop a comprehensive brief that is 60 to 75 pages in length; it not only addresses the licensing agency’s concerns, but also establishes a basis for our client to continue to practice their vocation or profession. The goal of Attorney Samuel Spital is to resolve the case without the need to proceed with the filing of a formal Accusation and/or administrative hearing.

We will not “gamble” on your career. If you want an attorney who will not risk the outcome on a case, may even charge and do less, you should check out their rating and reviews on www.avvo.com. Then, go to the listing for attorney Samuel Spital (main office in San Diego California) and you would benefit from reading unequaled 325+ “five star” client reviews and attorney endorsementsCompare that to any other lawyer before choosing price over quality.

Possible outcomes of an investigation include:

  • Closed by State Board and the complaint is found to be “unsubstantiated”
  • Closed and retained by the State Board for one year if the complaint is found to be “inconclusive”
  • Closed and retained by the State Board for five years because the complaint is found to have merit, but insufficient evidence to prosecute the licensee
  • Closed by the State Board and an investigative fine is imposed
  • Referred by the State Board to the Office of the Attorney General or to the agency’s Legal Division for prosecution
  • Referred by the State Board for issuance of a citation
  • Referred by the State Board to the local district attorney or other law enforcement agency for criminal prosecution

Disciplinary Words and Phrases

  • Accusation – Charges filed against a licensee alleging violations of the Laws and Regulations Relating to a Professional License
  • Default Decision – Licensee fails to respond to an Accusation by filing a Notice of Defense or fails to appear at the Administrative Hearing.
  • Denied – The Application for licensure is denied.
  • Decision – The Order of the Board, Bureau or Agency in a disciplinary action.
  • Interim Suspension Order (ISO) – An Order issued upon petition by the Attorney General, suspending a licensee from all or a part of his or her professional practice.
  • Petition to Revoke Probation – Charges filed against a licensee on probation seeking revocation of their license based upon violation(s) of probation.
  • Private Reprimand – Licensee is reprimanded by the action is not publicized
  • Probation – Terms and Conditions placed on a licensee for a specific period of time as a result of disciplinary action.
  • Probationary License – A conditional or restricted license issued to an Applicant or licensee with terms and conditions for a specific period of time.
  • Public Reprimand – Licensee was reprimanded for a minor violation(s).
  • Revoked – Licensee’s right to practice is ended.
  • Revoked, Stayed, Probation – “Stayed” means the revocation or suspension is not imposed. Professional practice may continue as long as the licensee complies with the specific Terms and Conditions. Violation of probation may result in the revocation that was not previously imposed.
  • Statement of Issues – Charges filed against an Applicant to deny licensure.
  • Stipulated Decision – A Settlement agreed to in lieu of a formal Administrative Hearing to resolve an Accusation or Statement of Issues.
  • Surrender – Licensee stipulates to surrender the license. The right to practice is ended.
  • Suspension – Licensee is prohibited from practicing for a specific period of time.

What we will do for you in a license case:

  • Vigorously represent you during the course of any state license investigation.
  • Provide sound legal advice as to whether to fight a citation and fine informally vs. formally.
  • Provide effective representation to dispel and/or minimize any liability, seek to have any investigation closed and/or Regulatory Agency Accusation dismissed or withdrawn
  • Represent you in the Administrative Hearing or trial before an Administrative Law Judge if we are retained and the matter cannot otherwise be resolved.
  • Negotiate with the Attorney General the terms of Probation and disciplinary action based upon appropriate Board Guidelines, and the needs of our client after presenting a comprehensive 60-75 page written Legal Argument.
  • Provide advice and representation as requested to present legal and factual arguments in an effort to set aside and overturn any adverse administrative decisions by filing a separate action in the California Superior Court through “a writ of administrative mandamus” proceeding.


Main Offices
8880 Rio San Diego Drive, Suite 800
San Diego, CA 92108-1642
Telephone: 619-583-0350
Fax: 619-583-1850

Associates available 24/7.
Call (619) 583-0350 or send us an e-mail.

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.