The IDFPR Disciplinary Process
The professional license attorneys at The Davis Law Group, P.C. represent licensees throughout all phases of the Illinois Department of Professional and Financial Regulation’s (‘IDFPR’) disciplinary process. While the exact IDFPR disciplinary process can vary based on several factors, including the type of license involved and the nature of the complaint, there is a general procedure that is commonly followed.
Step 1: Notice of Complaint - A notice of complaint from the IDFPR often stems from a complaint submitted by a member of the public, a competitor or it may even based on information provided by the licensee themselves. A notice of complaint is an indication that an investigation has begun. After receiving a notice of complaint, you are strongly encouraged to contact a professional license defense attorney. The notice of complaint should be responded to in a timely manner. Seeking legal representation at the outset is often the best decision you can make.
Step 2: Investigation - The Department investigator may conduct interviews with the person(s) who made the allegations as well as any witnesses. The investigator may also contact the licensee to conduct an interview. Of course, you should contact your attorney prior to discussing the specifics with the investigator or providing them with any documentation. Your attorney will make the decision whether it is advisable to speak with the investigator or provide requested documentation. Your attorney may decide to to work with the investigator in an effort to resolve the issue efficiently and on favorable terms. On the other hand, if the investigator determines that there is insufficient evidence to indicate a violation, the file may be closed. Discussing the matter with the investigator without proper preparation can be a costly mistake.
Step 3: Formal Complaint - If the Department investigator determines that there appears to be a violation, the investigator will refer the case to the prosecuting attorney. If the prosecutor determines that the matter has been thoroughly investigated and that sufficient evidence exists to support the complaint, a formal complaint is filed. A formal complaint will provide a date for you to appear before the IDFPR and also indicates the deadline to file an answer to the complaint.
Step 4: Informal Conference - An informal conference provides the parties an opportunity to discuss the case and determine if a resolution can be reached prior to initiating a formal administrative hearing. While it is considered “informal” in nature, an informal conference can result in actual disciplinary consequences to your professional license such as censure, reprimand, probation, license suspension or license revocation. In the alternative, an informal conference may also lead to more favorable outcomes such as a consent order, restoration of your license or a dismissal of the complaint.
Step 5: Preliminary Hearing - At a preliminary hearing, the attorney for the for the licensee and the attorney for the Department will appear before the judge. The judge will set a date for their rulings on any preliminary motions and the attorneys may discuss any issues relevant to the case. This step may be eliminated by agreement of the parties or the Administrative Law Judge.
Step 6: Settlement Conference - In some cases, the IDFPR will make an offer to resolve the matter prior to proceeding with a formal hearing. If this results in a resolution of the issues prior to the filing of a formal complaint, then a consent order will be entered into by the parties. On the other hand, if this does not occur until a formal complaint has already been filed and the parties reach an agreement, then a stipulated finding of facts is agreed to and a draft recommendation for settlement is prepared. The settlement is not final unless and until it is approved by the Department attorney, board member(s) and ultimately the Director of the Department.
Step 7: Formal Administrative Hearing - If an agreement is not reached, your case may proceed to a Formal Administrative Hearing. A formal hearing takes place before an Administrative Law Judge or Hearing Officer. One or two Department attorneys along with licensed members of the relevant professional board with be present. Each party has the right to make opening and closing statements. The Department will put forward their case-in-chief and the licensee will present their defense. The judge may rule on the case that same day or at a later date.
Step 8: Appeal - Under Illinois law, you may appeal the final order of the IDFPR to the Circuit Court. While the appeal is not an opportunity to introduce new evidence, you may argue whether the law was followed and whether the correct rules and procedures were applied during the proceedings.Contact the IDFPR Defense Attorneys at The Davis Law Group, P.C.
A threat to your hard earned career and livelihood should not be taken lightly. Our attorneys understand the anxiety and frustration of licensed professionals facing disciplinary action by the IDFPR. We aim to provide clarity and peace of mind from the beginning stages of the disciplinary process. Our professional license attorneys are standing by and ready to help. Contact us today to arrange a free initial consultation by calling the professional license defense attorneys at The Davis Law Group, P.C. at (847) 390-8500 or submitting your information via our online contact form.