Licensed Professional Counselors with Disciplinary Complaints Before the Missouri Committee for Professional Counselors
The Law Offices of Kevin J. Dolley represents licensed professional counselors in proceedings before the Missouri Committee for Professional Counselors. The Firm provides legal counsel to professional counselors in investigations, disciplinary proceedings, and litigation. If you receive a complaint or are being investigated by the Committee, contact us today to protect your rights and license.
Complaints to the Missouri Committee for Professional Counselors
Clients, former clients, employers and others can lodge a complaint against a counselor. Due to the nature of counseling, it is not unusual for clients to be dissatisfied or upset with counseling they receive. Sometimes this leads to the filing of complaints for conduct that does not violate Missouri law, such as simply being unhappy with a client-counselor relationship. The Committee investigates each complaint it receives and counselors must work through the process. This starts with responding in writing to the complaint after being notified by the Committee.
The Committee’s investigator may then interview the licensee and request documents from him or her. After that, the Committee may invite the counselor to a meeting to discuss the case and answer questions. Legal representation is important during this stage of the process because it will impact how the case is ultimately resolved. A counselor may be able to get the complaint dismissed during this initial investigatory phase and avoid drawn out, costly litigation. Legal representation from attorneys familiar with the process and the law governing professional counseling is crucial to ensure you receive the best possible outcome from the Committee. Contact the Law Offices of Kevin J. Dolley for the experienced, vigorous representation needed to ensure your rights and license are protected.
Potential Discipline for Licensed Professional Counselors
Professional counselors may be subject to discipline under Missouri law (Chapter 337 RSMo) for:
- Felony or misdemeanor criminal conviction or guilty plea;
- Unethical conduct;
- Sexual relationship with client or student;
- Drug or alcohol use, unlawful possession, intoxication or impairment;
- Incompetency, misconduct, fraud, dishonesty, or misrepresentation in the performance of duties;
- Violating applicable regulations;
- False or misleading advertising;
- License application issues;
- Disciplinary action by another state board;
- Probation violations.
The Professional Counselor Disciplinary Process
Many complaints are resolved during the initial investigatory phase, either through dismissal or a settlement agreement. In certain situations, the Committee may file a case with the Administrative Hearing Commission (AHC) if it believes Missouri law was violated. The parties then engage in the discovery process, in which they request documents and depose witnesses. The AHC later holds an evidentiary hearing to determine whether the counselor’s license is subject to discipline. At the hearing, the Committee has the burden of proof and must present evidence, including witness testimony or documents, to establish a violation of Missouri law. If the Committee does not prove its case, the AHC rules in the counselor’s favor and the case is over.
If the AHC finds the counselor’s license is subject to discipline, the Committee holds a second hearing to determine what level of discipline to impose. This determination is based on the findings of the AHC, testimony at the hearing before the Committee, and consideration of mitigating circumstances. Potential disciplines include censure, probation, suspension, or revocation. Legal representation is needed throughout the process, which involves the presentation of evidence in court, compliance with legal standards and rules, and knowledge of the substantive law governing Missouri professional counselors.
Criminal Convictions and their Impact on Professional Licenses
When faced with criminal prosecution, special attention must be paid to the impact a judgment or plea agreement will have on your professional license. Criminal convictions or guilty pleas, whether felonies or misdemeanors, are reported to the Committee. Certain crimes can result in immediate suspension of your license, while others may result in an administrative complaint. Decisions made during the criminal process, including before charges are filed, can impact your license. If you have been accused of a crime or have recently been convicted or pled guilty, please contact our professional licensing defense attorneys to discuss your options and help protect your professional license.
If the Committee denies a license to a professional counselor, he or she has the right to appeal under Missouri law. After receiving written notice of denial, the professional counselor must file a complaint with the AHC. A trial-type hearing then occurs and the AHC can overturn the Committee’s decision to deny a license. Legal representation is critical during this process in order to ensure proper procedures are followed and legal standards are met. If the Committee denied your application for licensure as a professional counselor, contact the Law Offices of Kevin J. Dolley.
Multiple State Licensing Issues
Our attorneys understand the effect disciplinary actions can have on your license, particularly if you are licensed in multiple states. Certain issues can follow you from state to state so it is important to know and evaluate your options.
If you are notified that a complaint has been made against your Missouri professional counselor’s license or that you are accused of violating probation, contact the Law Offices of Kevin J. Dolley to obtain experienced legal counsel to address the situation by calling (314) 645-4100 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.