One question that we receive quite frequently is, “How long will the process take from when I first receive a complaint against my professional license to the conclusion of the whole complaint process?” Not to give the typical lawyer answer, but we’re going to do so anyway because it really does depend. It depends on a lot of different factors.
If you are dealing with a certain Board or a specific Agency, they might have a significant backlog of cases, whereas another agency or board might have hardly any cases. There’s also the possibility that a board is just run inefficiently, and they take a long time for whatever reason. It could also be the case that you have a situation where, honestly, the best option might be a contested hearing, and if that’s the case, the timeline for some boards might be extended.
You might get a contested hearing within six months. With some Boards, it might be 9, 12, 18, sometimes 24 months. In the case of one board (which will go unnamed), it can be around three to four years. So, it really just depends. It depends on the profession, the board, and the personnel working with the board. It depends on how willing they are to offer a resolution to the satisfaction of the licensee to keep them working, I should say. So, it is agency and board specific.
Generally speaking, if you have a complaint filed with any board or agency, it would not be surprising if the very shortest timeline is about six months, with the very longest being anywhere from that three to four-year timeframe, depending on whether or not you need a contested hearing.
There’s also the possibility that if it’s a fundamentally flawed complaint, something that should have never been filed, then obviously that will be on the much shorter end because the investigators can review it. Certain members of the board responsible for aspects of the investigative committee will assess the complaint and dismiss it if it’s baseless. In such a situation, the process is likely to be completed within three to six months.
As the process progresses, the time tends to be prolonged, and the closer you get to the possibility of a contested hearing, the longer it gets dragged out as well. I hope this answers that question.