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Representation at Professional Licensing Hearings

In California, the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) is the venue for almost all professional license discipline or denial cases. OAH hears cases for such varied occupations as real estate agents and broker, automobile salespeople and dealers, and licensed community care facilities. Administrative licensing agencies such as the Department of Real Estate, Department of Motor Vehicles and the Department of Social Services delegate the job of hearing disciplinary hearings to these Administrative Law Judges (ALJs).

If you find yourself being investigated by a licensing board with the possibility of being called into an OAH proceeding, you should contact a knowledgeable attorney.

I am an attorney who represents clients in administrative hearings and have substantial experience in conducting professional license hearings before OAH.  I served as Staff Counsel and Senior Staff Counsel for the Department of Real Estate, Department of Motor Vehicles and Department of Social Services and have appeared before OAH Administrative Law Judges in hundreds of cases in Los Angeles and San Diego. I can assist you in defending against accusations that can do significant damage to your reputation and career. 

When a licensing agency issues an accusation and the licensee responds by requesting a hearing, the case is typically filed with OAH for adjudication. OAH is different than any other court in that OAH is a state agency that other state agencies hire to hear their cases. ALJs render proposed decisions that can be adopted, changed or rejected and then decided differently by licensing agencies.

A common mistake is to think that OAH proceedings are informal discussions rather than serious legal inquiries with equally serious consequences. Administrative hearings require all of the skills a trial lawyer possesses:

Deposition witnesses and discovery of evidence
Questioning of witnesses at the hearing.
Objections to evidence
Oral argument

It is also important for licensees faced with an administrative hearing to remember that the California Department of Justice, which has hundreds of well-trained Deputy Attorneys General or Department Counsel, who have considerable subject matter experience, prosecutes these hearings. Trying to represent yourself in these proceedings may result in disastrous consequences for your professional license.

You owe it to yourself to engage an experienced administrative hearing attorney to fight the charges against you.