Asheville Professional License Defense Attorney

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Asheville Professional License Defense Lawyer

After finishing a rigorous educational program, your hard work has finally paid off. You probably finished medical school, law school, or any other post-graduate degree. Once you’ve successfully passed your licensing exams, you received a professional license. But this can all come crashing down if you find yourself under investigation for a crime or professional misconduct. This could be a threat to your license, and potentially ruin finances, your career, and your life.

Doug Edwards Law in Asheville, NC is dedicated to defending professionals under threat of losing their licenses. As a result, we handle cases of our professional clients with a combination of personalized care and extensive experience. Our Asheville professional license defense attorneys help healthcare professionals, physicians, accountants, pharmacists, and other professionals. We always work to deliver a positive outcome for you.

We know how important your license is to your livelihood and the future of your family. Our goal is to provide you with the highest standard of professional license defense, which is what we’ve built our practice on. Time is of the essence when dealing with these kinds of cases. Don’t wait. Call Doug Edwards Law today at (828) 702-8743 to discuss your case with one of our Asheville criminal defense attorneys.

Table of Contents

Process of Complaints and Investigation By Professional Licensing Boards

In North Carolina, more than 180 occupations and professions require some form of permit or license. Individuals and entities who hold professional or occupational licenses are required to adhere to the rules and regulations of their respective state licensing boards or agencies. Whenever the boards are notified of any violations of these rules and regulations, disciplinary actions against the license holder will often be initiated.

Usually, these proceedings are adjudicated via a formal administrative hearing that’s held before the board. This is usually done in cases where the license holder and the board are yet to resolve the issue. Although the rules and regulations set out by various licensing boards are mostly occupation-specific, North Carolina law stipulates that the licensing boards should adopt rules for administrative hearings that are consistent with Article 3A of the State’s Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”).

Whenever a disciplinary proceeding is initiated against a licensee, it could trigger a chain of events that might result in the imposition of severe sanctions, including the revocation or suspension of the license. For most license holders, their livelihood depends on maintaining a valid and unrestricted license. For this reason, a disciplinary proceeding is a high-stakes affair.

The governing body for each profession will have its specific process to follow once it gets a complaint against a licensed professional. Nonetheless, generally speaking, the process is as follows:

  • The board receives a complaint, it might be from a client, colleague, or a member of the public.
  • The board will assign an investigator to the complaint, which could be an individual or a committee.
  • The investigator evaluates the jurisdiction – in case the board doesn’t have jurisdiction over you, it won’t pursue an investigation. A jurisdiction is essentially a form of power based on the location in which you work or live.
  • The investigator will then start an investigation into the complaint, which usually entails reviewing the professional records, interviewing you, and obtaining other people’s statements.
  • The board will then notify you of the investigation and might provide you with a copy of the complaint.
  • You can choose to cooperate with the investigator, ideally with the help of an experienced Asheville professional license defense lawyer.
  • The board will then review the investigator’s findings and recommendations.
  • The board may choose to seek disciplinary action or close the case altogether.

You have the right to request a formal hearing, especially if it seems like the board may call for disciplinary action. You might receive a private disciplinary action, such as a letter attributing the board’s concerns.

Alternatively, you could receive a public disciplinary action, like a public letter of reprimand, limitations on your practice, monetary fines, permanent license revocation, or a license suspension for a given amount of time.

Impact of Criminal Convictions on a Professional License

A licensing board might take several possible disciplinary actions following a conviction or arrest. The disciplinary measures they take will depend on the profession and the type of violation. Some of the measures may include:

  • License suspension
  • License revocation
  • Citation
  • Warning letter
  • Fines
  • Practice restrictions or supervision
  • Substance abuse education and treatment
  • Probation
  • Alcohol or drug testing

The general rule is that if there’s a criminal conviction or charge that is substantially related to the duties of the profession the licensee is in, it could be grounds for loss of license. For some professions, a felony conviction will result in the loss of license.

Professions that involve working with children, the elderly, or people with disability tend to be stricter, and convictions for violent crimes will almost always be grounds for losing a license. DWI and DUI as well as other drug offenses are taken very seriously in professions involving working with medications and are likely to result in the loss of license.

A licensing board can apply a variety of disciplinary actions to licensees that are convicted of a crime. Besides losing a license, other disciplinary actions include warnings, fines, citations, education classes, diversion programs, submission to drug tests, substance abuse treatment, probation, supervision, restrictions, and others.

One common misconception about professional licenses and criminal records is that people who get a pardon that erases a criminal conviction must effectively be disclosed to the licensing board. Pardoned criminal convictions don’t necessarily have to be disclosed to employers, and these charges cannot be used against a person to discharge them or deny them employment.

A pardoned criminal conviction doesn’t have to be disclosed during an application, even if the application requires information about your criminal history. This is because the arrest and conviction are legally considered never to have happened in the first place.

To learn more about the impact of criminal convictions on your professional license, reach out to our Asheville professional license defense attorneys today at (828) 702-8743.

Activities That Put Your Professional License at Risk

It’s worth noting that every North Carolina Licensing Board is different, and each will have different requirements when it comes to obtaining and maintaining a professional license. With this in mind, the following are some of the most common reasons we come across as grounds for complaints, investigations, and disciplinary actions from various licensing boards.

  • Document falsification
  • Failure to satisfy educational requirements
  • Criminal Charges and Convictions, including DUI/DWI, Felony DUI, and Fraud
  • Breach of confidentiality of a client
  • Inappropriate relationship with a client
  • Failure to satisfy a professional standard of care or representation of a client
  • Abuse or neglect of a patient or client
  • Financial mismanagement that results in contract breaches, credit unworthiness, mortgage defaults, etc.
  • Alcohol abuse, substance abuse, and drug addictions; and practicing while impaired
  • Sexual misconduct

If you are being accused of violating your profession’s code of conduct, don’t just sit around and wait for the professional investigation to be completed. You have the right to hire an Asheville professional license defense attorney to defend yourself against any allegations. You also have a right to fight to mitigate the consequences of any findings against you, including ensuring that you keep your professional license.

How Can an Attorney Help You Defend Your License?

Usually, licensees first become aware of an investigation when they get a phone call, a records request, or a letter or subpoena from their licensing board. Considering the gravity of the situation, it’s essential not to take the investigation lightly, no matter how confident you feel about the facts. Keep in mind that you’re dealing with experienced investigators who can effectively impact your career. Your primary goal should be getting the investigation closed and retaining your license without affecting your career.

This is why you should work with a professional license defense lawyer with experience handling cases in your specific profession. Your attorney should ideally know the North Carolina laws pertaining to your profession along with the governing body’s regulations. The more experienced the lawyer is with your profession, the stronger your case will be.

Depending on the specifics of your case, your lawyer might take some or all of the following steps to prepare a strong defense strategy for you to convince the board why disciplinary action is unwarranted.

  • Filing the necessary paperwork in time to preserve your rights to defense.
  • Thoroughly review the available evidence and facts surrounding the case.
  • Analyzing the laws governing the alleged misconduct.
  • Consulting with experts as needed.
  • Reviewing any criminal liability and ways it affects your defense.
  • Communicating with the investigator to present favorable information that minimizes the severity of the allegation or disproves the allegation altogether.

You should know that an investigation from your profession’s governing body is not the same as a criminal investigation. Nonetheless, the allegations made against you might amount to a crime. As such, the board may choose to involve the police. In such a scenario, it will benefit you to have a lawyer by your side, especially one who has experience with criminal defense, so that any potential investigation by law enforcement can be addressed.

The board’s investigation and probable disciplinary action are covered under NC’s administrative law. It’s wise to work with an experienced Asheville professional license defense attorney who knows your rights and legal options under the Administrative Code, such as when you are entitled to a formal hearing and the due process of the hearing.

Who Our Asheville Professional License Defense Attorneys Help

Doug Edwards Law handles all forms of professional license defense matters, and we are prepared to defend our clients against all allegations of ethics violations, professional misconduct, professional incompetence, and breach of fiduciary duty.

Our team is made up of lawyers that have represented State government boards and agencies, so we understand how these boards think and operate. We will work to vigorously protect your best interests during the application to practice and in defense of your right to practice. We represent the following professionals:


Your services as a licensed accountant in North Carolina, whether as a CPA, PA, or AP, are vital across all sectors of society, from personal tax services to corporate finances and government budgeting. Whenever someone lodges a claim concerning your service, it could have far-reaching consequences, and your very livelihood is at stake. In such a case, you need an accounting license defense attorney to protect your professional license, not to mention your career and reputation.

At Doug Edwards Law, we understand that accountants are subject to a high level of scrutiny by their employers, clients, and others, including the North Carolina State Board of Certified Public Accountant Examiners. CPAs are also commonly subject to a comprehensive set of guidelines and standards that address a wide range of ethical considerations in their personal and professional lives.

If your CPA license is at risk, whether as a result of an action initiated by the Board or a third-party complaint, we can represent you before the Board to protect your professional standing. There may be several defenses available to protect your license, regardless of the allegations made against you.


As a doctor, you are responsible for the lives of many people. And to prepare for this, you’ve spent years of hard work to obtain and keep your license, always staying on top of medical innovations. However, no matter the source, complaints, or questions about your professionalism, qualification, and standard of care could threaten your licensure and your source of livelihood.

medical license defense attorney from Doug Edwards Law can fight to protect your rights and your license throughout the complaint process. Just as your patients rely on your knowledge and expertise to help them get better, North Carolina licensed medical professionals turn to us when looking for skilled professional license lawyers to handle their defense.

The North Carolina Medical Board controls licensing for physicians in North Carolina. In case the board finds you in violation of a regulation of the profession, it could dictate the disciplinary actions they take, which range from a suspension or revocation of a license to a public reprimand. If you’re a physician in Asheville and you’re facing an investigation, get in touch with Doug Edwards Law today for help.


Nursing is one of the most critical professions, often requiring rigorous study for licensure by the state of North Carolina. It’s not an easy career to pursue or practice once the studying pursuit is over. Considering all of the dedication and effort required to achieve the licensure, it’s important to keep the hard-earned license by all means. If your license is at risk as a result of a professional or patient complaint, you should get an Asheville nursing license defense lawyer from Doug Edwards Law to fight for you.

The North Carolina Board of Nursing governs licensing for North Carolina nurses. It receives and investigates any complaints made against registered nurses in the state, including advanced practice nurses, nurse aides, licensed practical nurses, along with certified registered nurse anesthetists, certified nurse midwives, and clinical nurse specialists.

When you come to us, we’ll use our exceptional knowledge, experience, and skills acquired through decades of work as lawyers to protect your rights. We know what your nursing license means to you, and we’ll leave no stone unturned to defend your license and your career.


As a lawyer, your license is essential to your work and livelihood. But when unfounded complaints by disgruntled customers or associates arise, or when your qualifications start being questioned, you need prompt help to protect your career. Help from a North Carolina professional license attorney can be essential to protecting your license and livelihood.

At Doug Edwards Law, we have represented many lawyers, law firms, and legal personnel throughout North Carolina. These cases often involve the “case within the case” doctrine, which requires a deeper understanding of a wide range of legal disciplines. When you work with us, you can be sure that you’re in safe hands.


A pharmacist’s role requires you to abide by a professional code of conduct. In case someone suspects that you violate this, they may report you to the Board of Pharmacy. Based on the allegations and the findings of the investigation that ensues, it could easily lead to disciplinary actions. Getting a pharmacist license defense lawyer in Asheville, NC as soon as possible can help you keep your license.

If you face the potential loss of your pharmacy license, you need legal help. And to get the best outcome for your case, you need an experienced attorney to guide you through the process.


It can be worrisome and stressful when a North Carolina dentist, dental tech, or dental hygienist faces license suspension, investigation, or revocation. After all, in a profession where your reputation and license to practice is your livelihood, facing an investigation, license suspension, or revocation could jeopardize your ability to earn a living.

Our Asheville dental license defense attorneys can help protect your license if you have received a complaint, are under investigation, or are facing disciplinary action from the North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners.


Being an agriculturally rich state, the health of livestock and animals is of great importance in North Carolina. North Carolina treats complaints against licensed veterinary professionals very seriously.

You need an experienced lawyer to protect your veterinary license if you are facing a complaint, an investigation, or possible disciplinary action by the Board of Veterinary Medicine. Get in touch with the experienced Asheville veterinary license defense lawyers at Doug Edwards Law today

Talk to a Professional License Defense Lawyer in Asheville, North Carolina

We know that you have worked many years to achieve your goals. However, things don’t always go our way. When you find yourself facing anything from a professional investigation, fighting for initial licensing or license renewal, or defending your license against a complaint, working with a lawyer can make all the difference in your case.

When your professional license is at risk, contact an Asheville professional license lawyer at Doug Edwards Law for a free consultation. You can call us at (828) 702-8743 or complete our online form.

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