It’s okay for the Government to be late — but not you!

19 07 2010

The American essayist Og Mandino is credited with saying the following about being late: “There is an immeasurable distance between late and too late.” A recent administrative law case involving a Licensed Professional Counselor illustrates that perfectly.

The counselor was licensed for 19 years, dutifully renewing her license each year. By law, the licensing board was required to send her a notice 30 days before her license was to expire each year.

Oops!

In 2002, the Board failed to send the renewal notice. As a result, the counselor did not renew her license and her license expired, unbeknownst to her. In 2006, she finally learned that her license had expired. At that time she applied to renew it. But the licensing board refused to renew it because it had been expired for more than one year!

Surely the courts will straighten this out – right?

The counselor sued the licensing board and argued that she should not be penalized for allowing her license to go unrenewed for a year because the board failed to send her a notice of renewal as it was required to do. Her case has been winding its way through the courts but now appears to be over. The result? She loses. In May, the Austin court of appeals ruled in favor of the board. It said that the law required the counselor to renew each year, and that requirement applied whether or not the board sent a reminder notice as it was required to do.

Moral of the story

We all have so much going on in our lives that we tend to rely on others to tell us when things are due. We rely on the dentist to tell us when it is time for a cleaning, and we rely on the government to tell us when it is time to new our various licenses and registrations. But this case shows that you must treat your professional license differently. Be vigilant about the deadline to renew your license and do not rely on your licensing agency to remind you.





The Double Whammy of a criminal conviction

21 06 2010

 

Ways that a criminal conviction can cost you your license

If you are convicted of a crime, jail time or a fine is not all you have to worry about. The state may be able to revoke your professional license too. And the state’s power to do so got stronger in 2009 when the Legislature amended the law.

For most professions, before 2009 the state could revoke a license (or deny the application for one) only if the professional were convicted of an offense that directly related to the duties and responsibilities of the profession. So, for example, the board of accountancy could revoke the license of an accountant for conviction of fraud but probably not for the driving under the influence of alcohol.

Now, however, state agencies have more power. They may revoke (or deny) for conviction of an offense that does not directly relate to the duties and responsibilities of the profession if the offense was committed fewer than five years before the person applied for a license.

Sometimes the state must revoke the license

In the circumstances set forth above, state agencies have discretion to revoke. That is, they can do so if they see fit, but they do not have to do so. But there are other circumstances in which a state agency does not have discretion and must revoke a license. Specifically, the state must revoke in the following circumstances:

• imprisonment following a felony conviction

• felony community service revocation

• revocation of parole; or

• revocation of mandatory supervision

And some professions are governed by different rules altogether

These guidelines apply to most professionals in Texas. But they do not necessarily apply to persons who provide law enforcement or public health, education, or safety services. Generally speaking, those persons are held to even higher standards of conduct. For them, revocation (and denial) is controlled by the specific laws governing their professions.