If you are a professional landscape architect and are facing a complaint or formal accusation against your California landscape architect's license, it is in your best interests to act quickly to secure the services of an experience license defense attorney. The sooner you act, the greater your chances of gaining a dismissal or a reduced form of discipline.
The Department of Consumer Affairs' Landscape Architect Technical Committee takes all complaints registered against California landscape architects very seriously. They have the authority to revoke/suspend a license, issue a citation and fine, or take various other forms of disciplinary action that can hurt your career and reputation.
At California License Attorney, we have deep experience in defending our state's licensed landscape architects against all manner of accusations and in helping them retain their licenses and continue their careers. Contact us anytime 24/7 at 888-959-0068, for a free consultation with a well seasoned license defense lawyer and immediate attention to your case.
The Valuable Roles of California Landscape Architects
When we drive past many of California's tree-lined avenues, stroll through our state's public parks and gardens, or notice the attractively arranged lots of many residential and commercial properties, many of us do not realize that a landscape architect likely is responsible for these stunning results.
As a landscape architect, your role in producing beautiful outdoor spaces often goes unknown to the general public, but building contractors and your many clients know and appreciate your skills.
Many may also confuse landscape architects with landscape designers. The latter, however, focus on blueprints and planning, while your focus is on safety, compliance with municipal codes, soil analysis, grading and landscaping, and aesthetic appeal. Often, you function as a project manager and inspector. And you sometimes conduct follow-up meetings with your clients for years to ensure the original projections are indeed taking shape.
To get where you are today, you had to persevere through years of education and training as well as endure a tedious, expensive licensing process. And yet, it is very easy for a single mistake, misunderstanding, or false accusation to jeopardize your entire career.
At California License Attorney, we understand and appreciate the roles that modern landscape architects fill. We also realize how easy it is for a complaint to be filed against you that could threaten your license and your professional reputation. We stand ready to come to your aid with top-tier license defense and to fight for and win the best possible outcome for each and every client we serve.
The Mission of the Landscape Architects Technical Committee
The Landscape Architects Technical Committee (LATC) is more or less a subdivision of the California Architects Board, and is responsible for protecting the public safety and upholding high standards within the profession of landscape architecture.
More specifically, the LATC concerns itself with creating regulations to govern the industry and enforcing those and other relevant laws and regulations, such as the Landscape Architects Practice Act and the Business & Professions Act.
Under Article 5 of the Landscape Architects Practice Act, the board exercises professional discipline of various sorts on landscape architect licensees for a wide variety of alleged offenses, including:
- Obtaining a license by fraud.
- Practicing under an assumed name or impersonating a deceased landscape architect.
- Allowing unlicensed assistants to work under you or otherwise aiding and abetting illegal, unlicensed practice.
- Insurance fraud and various other forms of fraudulent activity.
- Negligence, incompetence, or willful misconduct in performing your duties.
- Drug/alcohol abuse or addiction, especially if committed while on the job.
- Signing or stamping work as if your own, when in fact, you did not create or supervise the work in question.
- Having a criminal conviction that "substantially relates to" your duties or qualifications as a landscape architect.
- Already being under professional discipline by another California agency or by the licensing board of another U.S. state.
When the LATC receives, from any number of sources, a complaint against you, license revocation is almost always a possibility. Many complaints are quickly dismissed as "unsubstantiated," while others are dropped as lacking sufficient evidence after a very short investigation. But when you receive a Notice of Investigation from the board's enforcement unit, you don't know what to expect. And if you ignore a complaint that goes into serious investigation, you lose valuable time to use building your defense or even end up with a revocation simply because you never filed a Notice of Defense.
Thus, it is always best to immediately contact a license defense lawyer as soon as you know an investigation is underway against you. Your license is too valuable to risk by inaction.
From Complaint to Final Decision: The Process
If the board chooses to pursue a complaint against you, the investigative process could go on for months or even years. And sometimes, the board may issue an "interim suspension" against your license to hold sway during the investigation. That is the first thing we will challenge, in such a case, since you cannot afford to shut down your practice for long periods of time while waiting for the board's decision.
In many cases, out team of skilled license defense attorneys will be able to challenge the prosecution's case early on and force them to back down and drop the case. Other times, we may be able to reach a favorable stipulated settlement before any administrative hearing takes place. We can present a strong case in your behalf at the issuance of the formal accusation and the accompanying statement of issues to secure these results and shorten the process.
But if a hearing does occur, we will come to it thoroughly prepared to present exculpatory and mitigating evidence in your favor and to expose weaknesses in the evidence, argument, and testimony of the prosecution.
The administrative law judge (ALJ) who presides over your hearing will hear not only evidence concerning the commission of the alleged violation but also aggravating and mitigating evidence, which will greatly affect the discipline received if the charges cannot be totally defeated.
Such factors as the presence or lack of an actual financial or physical harm issuing from the violation, the level of harm that could have occurred, the length of time that has passed without any further violations, the number and diversity of violations currently being alleged, and any rehabilitative or corrective steps taken by the licensee since the offense can influence the ALJ in his/her decision.
But the judge's decision must also be reviewed and approved by the board before it is finalized.
Oftentimes, it is possible to win a stay of revocation with license probation in place of an actual revocation or suspension. This is not the ideal outcome, but it is sometimes the best one possible under the circumstances and at least lets you keep your license and continue your practice. We can also fight for a shorter probationary period with less restrictive probation conditions.
Also note that the decision of the board can be appealed within a prescribed time limit, whether for a citation or for a major violation.
Finally, if you have already had your license revoked for any reason, we can assist you with the paperwork and legal process of petitioning to get it reinstated after the prescribed wait period. And if you have had your application for a landscape architect license denied, we can help you meet the board's requirements and ultimately get it approved.
Many give up too easily and assume that a complaint will lead to a prolonged investigation, that an investigation will certainly result in a formal accusation, that a formal accusation must lead to an administrative hearing, and that a hearing will most likely result in discipline. People also often assume that discipline will surely mean the loss of their license and the a license lost cannot be regained. In reality, we at California License Attorney often stop the process short at any of its many points and often win dismissals and lightened forms of discipline. We frequently save licenses and careers. And it is not even over after a revocation, for we have helped many get their lost licenses reinstated.
Contact Us Today for Assistance
At California License Attorney, we have for many years been defending California's landscape architects against complaints of all types that could potentially threaten their landscape architect license.
We understand the laws, regulations, and legal processes that are involved in winning a license defense case, and we also know how to effectively negotiate with the Landscape Architect Technical Committee, when necessary, for a favorable stipulated settlement that lets you keep your license.
To learn more or for a free consultation on the details of your case, do not hesitate to contact us anytime 24/7/365 by calling 888-959-0068.