Posted by Chip Gentry |
So maybe you’re a registered nurse, or a pharmacist, psychologist, or another licensed medical professional, and you’ve entered into a settlement agreement with your professional Board or State Committee. Maybe your settlement agreement is the result of substance abuse (alcohol or drug dependency). If so, it likely came with onerous drug testing requirements, including the need to “check-in” daily with a company like NTS (National Toxicology Specialists) to see if you need to dash off to a lab and have a urine screen.
Meanwhile, life goes on. Family, work, outside activities, and just the day to day hustle and bustle of life may cause you to forget to call in to see if you need to go test (what NTS terms a “missed check-in”), or worse yet, completely miss a day when you were supposed to test (which NTS dubs a “no show”). These are but some of the numerous ways you can “violate” the terms of your settlement agreement and the probation of your professional license. Get enough missed check-ins, alone or in combination with a no show, or otherwise violate your probation terms, and you may get the unpleasant experience of receiving a Notice of Probation Violation Hearing in your mail.
If this happens, do not panic. But do take action. Your nursing, pharmacy, or another professional license may be in jeopardy. Under your settlement agreement, your Board has the authority to impose additional discipline if you violate the terms of your probation. In some instances, the Board may even seek to revoke your license, depending upon the severity of the violation. The Board cannot do anything, however, without first giving you notice and an opportunity to be heard. Probation Violation Hearing is that opportunity.
At the hearing, the Board’s attorney will present evidence of your violation, just like a prosecutor presents evidence to a judge or jury in an effort to convict someone of a crime. And believe me, in the case of a probation violation, you’re guilty until proven innocent. Every Board Member is also permitted to question about what you’ve been doing, and why you violated your probation. One of their favorite questions if you’ve had a chemical dependency issue is “what’s your clean and sober date?” You better know the answer. Hopefully, if it’s good, it will help. But in addition, you will need someone in your corner, advocating for you and for your professional license. That is where an experienced attorney comes in. A skilled attorney can help you prepare for the hearing so you know what to expect, and can identify key witnesses and other evidence on your behalf to present to the Board. In essence, the probation violation hearing is your chance to convince the Board you deserve to keep your professional license without having additional discipline imposed upon you. If you want to keep practicing in your chosen profession, hiring an experienced attorney gives you the best chance do to so.