Let a San Diego Veterinarian License Defense Lawyer Protect Your Interests
You chose to become a veterinarian pursuing your love for animals and your desire to help San Diego pet owners, and your veterinarian license is the ultimate proof of those long years of study, practice, and hard work. It is also your ticket to a better future, job safety, and steady income. When the California Veterinary Medical Board threatens to take it away, you have to do everything in your power to stop them, and the best thing you can do is turn to a San Diego veterinarian license defense lawyer.
At San Diego Criminal, we know how difficult it is to become one of the more than 17,000 veterinarians currently licensed with the California Veterinary Medical Board. We also know how stressful it is to find out that you risk losing everything, and how long and complicated the veterinarian license defense process can be. If you turn to us for help, our veterinarian license defense attorneys will do everything in their power to take away your worries, protect your interests, and make the process as hassle-free as possible.
In our experience, many San Diego veterinarians facing a Board investigation are so stressed and worried that they are unable to focus on the steps they need to follow and make mistakes or omit details that end up costing them their license. To avoid that, we advise veterinarians facing Board investigations to consult a veterinarian license defense attorney as soon as possible and find out what the license defense process entails and how they should approach it to secure the best outcome.
License Investigations and How a San Diego Veterinarian License Defense Lawyer Can Help
Generally, the first sign that a San Diego California veterinarian risks losing their license is the news that the Veterinary Medical Board or the Department of Consumer Affairs is investigating their actions. This should be the moment when the licensee consults a San Diego veterinarian license defense attorney to find out what the investigation entails and what they should do to protect their interests.
Usually, the Veterinary Medical Board turns to non-sworn civilian investigators and oversees non-criminal cases. The Department of Consumer Affairs turns to Sworn Peace Officers and oversees investigations referring to violations of administrative and criminal law.
Most investigations begin when the owner of an animal the veterinarian treated or one of their work colleagues files a complaint. Other scenarios that could trigger an investigation are criminal investigations, criminal conviction referrals, sting operations, and violations of the applicable laws and regulations.
Depending on how the investigation goes and what conclusions it reaches, the Veterinary Medical Board can choose to:
- Close the case for lack of evidence
- File a formal Accusation and propose disciplinary measures
- Refer the case to the District Attorney’s Office to start criminal prosecution.
If you are lucky and the California Veterinary Medical Board drop the investigation, your only worry from now on should be to avoid future investigations. However, if they decide to file a formal Accusation, you should get a veterinarian license defense attorney on your case as soon as possible.
The Veterinarian License Defense Process for California Veterinary Medical Board Accusations
1. The Formal Accusation
Formal accusations begin with the licensee receiving an official notice that the Board is considering disciplinary measures against them. Many licensees consider it a notice that it is time to seek the advice of a San Diego veterinarian license defense lawyer. Others follow the instructions accompanying the notice and take their chances on their own.
2. The Notice of Defense
It is important to note that failure to respond to the Accusation notice by filing a Notice of Defense within 15 days will cost the licensee their right to defense and, implicitly, their veterinarian license. Even if the licensee manages to file the Notice of Defense on time, there is no guarantee their veterinarian license defense efforts will pay out, considering the long and tiresome process they have to go through. They have only secured their right to an administrative hearing.
3. The Pre-Hearing Process and the Mediation Conference
Before the administrative hearing takes place, two more important steps have to be taken: the pre-hearing process and the mediation conference. The first step practically refers to the preparations for the hearing: each party gathers evidence and reviews the evidence the other party has against them, the parties subpoena witnesses, and conduct further investigations to build a solid case.
4. The Stipulated Agreement
Depending on the evidence available and the skills and experience of the board agent handling the case and of the veterinarian license defense lawyer representing the employee, if any, this step could lead to a settlement, also known as a Stipulated Agreement.
The Board may agree to allow the veterinarian to keep their license but put them under probation, issue a Letter of Reprimand, order them to undergo a rehabilitation program or take other disciplinary measures against them.
It is usually difficult if not impossible to obtain an agreement without the help of an experienced veterinarian license defense attorney. If you are not sure the agreement offer you received is worth accepting or you are not sure how accepting it would impact your career, a veterinarian license defense lawyer can explain the terms to you and help you make a decision.
5. The Administrative Hearing and the Judge’s Proposed Decision
If you cannot settle at this stage, the next step is the formal hearing in front of the administrative law judge. Although the background is a little less formal than that of a court hearing, you should take this step seriously, and, preferably, rely on an experienced veterinarian license defense attorney to advise you.
Just like in a court trial, each party will have the chance to present its case, interview and cross-examine witnesses, and respond to any arguments and evidence the other party presents. Based on the evidence and circumstances presented, the administrative law judge will propose a decision, usually within one month of the hearing.
Many veterinarians and license defense lawyers agree that this hearing is more challenging than a jury court trial because jurors are easier to impress and influence than administrative law judges, who take a special interest in enforcing regulations, laws, and standards of conduct.
6. The California Veterinary Medical Board’s Final Decision and Order
Based on the decision of the administrative law judge and their own criteria, the Board will issue a Final Decision and Order with the disciplinary measures they consider necessary. If the decision is not in your favor, you have two options to appeal it.
You can file a Petition for Reconsideration, under Code § 11521, or you can file a Petition in the Superior Court for Writ of Mandamus, according to the civil procedure code § 1094.5 Whatever option you choose, the experience and skills of a veterinarian license defense lawyer will surely come in handy. Also, beware of time limits. For example, the deadline for pursuing the latter option is of 30 days.
Discuss Your Case with a Veterinarian License Defense Lawyer in San Diego Right Now!
No matter the stage of your veterinarian license defense process you are at, you will find the advice and support you need at San Diego Criminal. We have handled numerous cases like yours and helped many veterinarians defend their license, their career, and their future perspectives. We can help you too! Contact us now and make an appointment with a San Diego Criminal veterinarian license defense lawyer. You are on the right track, and we will get you to the right verdict!