Professional Licensing and Disciplinary Proceedings

The Nevada economy consists of a richly diverse set of jobs, including many with responsibilities that potentially affect the public’s health and welfare. Recognizing the need as a state to protect the public, Nevada has enacted regulations requiring many professionals to obtain state licenses before serving their first client or customer. The Nevada Legislature has passed licensing statutes for more than 50 different professions. In general, licensing regulations set up procedures for obtaining approval for a license and include strict penalties for individuals who try to practice without a license or obtain their credentials through fraud.

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Facing accusations of practicing without a license, fraud, or professional misconduct is a serious matter that can lead to criminal charges. Our attorneys at the De Castroverde Law Group of Las Vegas have extensive experience handling criminal matters related to professional licensing. We can assist you in building a proper defense against criminal and fraud charges that will put you in the best position to keep your license and livelihood.

What Is Professional Licensing?

Professional Licensing

You can find occupational licensing requirements in Title 54 of the Nevada Revised Statutes. The law provides for licensing and regulation of more than 50 professions, occupations, and businesses, including specified procedures for administering licensing programs.

Nevada relies on independently appointed boards or commissions to oversee licensing for most regulated occupations. An example of an independent board or commission is the Nevada Bar Association, which oversees the licensing of attorneys. The rest fall under the jurisdiction of state agencies and leaders or local authorities, with some enforcement taking place through civil litigation.

Professionals Regulated by Independent Boards

Independent boards or commissions in Nevada govern professionals such as dentists, dental hygienists, nurses, physicians, physician assistants, psychologists, and pharmacists. A few of the other professionals include:

  • Chiropractors.
  • Contractors.
  • Cosmetologists.
  • Opticians.
  • Environmental health specialists.
  • Funeral directors, embalmers, cemetery operators, and crematory operators.
  • Landscape architects.
  • Marriage therapists, family therapists, and clinical counselors.
  • Massage therapists.
  • Optometrists.
  • Physical therapists.
  • Podiatrists.
  • Private investigators, polygraph examiners, process servers, and repossessors.
  • Dog handlers.
  • Engineers and land surveyors.
  • Social workers.

Other Professional Licensing Regulations

State agencies or other government bodies oversee professionals that include the following:

  • Real estate appraisers and appraisal management.
  • Collection agencies.
  • Dietitians.
  • Escrow agents.
  • Building inspectors and energy auditors.
  • Medical labs.
  • Mortgage bankers, brokers, and agents.
  • Music therapists.
  • Real estate brokers and agents.

Professions regulated locally or via civil litigation include financial planners, junkyard operators, metal recyclers, pawnbrokers, locksmiths, and safe mechanics. The state legislature maintains a thorough fact sheet that lists Nevada’s approach to professional licensing.

Meeting Standards

Under state law, the independent boards or commissions are responsible for developing license procedures and taking disciplinary measures. The standards differ between professions; in most cases, professionals must meet minimum qualifications to obtain a license.

Some of these qualifications might include being of a certain minimum age, completing a set amount of education, and passing specific professional exams and background checks to examine an applicant’s criminal background. Professions often will also require particular levels of continuing education to show that a professional keeps up with changes in their field. If you are moving to Nevada from another state where you are licensed, you will likely have to complete licensing again once you arrive.

Professional Discipline

The independent boards or commissions will establish procedures for investigating and disciplining members and otherwise set professional standards. They can punish members who violate specific standards and issue fines or other penalties, including a public reprimand or placing someone on probation. Specific boards can also refuse to issue a license renewal or put limits on a member’s practice based on their professional record. For example, the state regulatory board overseeing the cosmetology profession has the authority to temporarily suspend the license of a member accused of prostitution or other sexual offenses.

One requirement of state law is that once a board initiates disciplinary procedures, the procedures must take place publicly for transparency reasons. The board must also report corrective results regularly to the Legislature, which posts them on the relevant website for public view.

As the state’s licensing fact sheet indicates, among the various grounds for discipline are matters such as “fraud, deceit, habitual intoxication, repeated acts of malpractice, or conduct involving moral turpitude to profession-specific provisions, such as falsifying an entry on a patient’s medical chart concerning a controlled substance (nurses), willful failure to pay for materials or services when due (contractors), or using a towel on one patron that has already been used on someone else, unless the towel has been laundered (barbers).”

Practicing Without a License

Avoiding the licensing process may be tempting, but do not do it. In many professions, practicing without a license is so severe it comes with criminal penalties that can put your freedom at risk. For example, Nevada considers the unauthorized practice of law to be as high as a Class B felony in an instance where someone dies, and a Class B felony carries from two to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

One important note is that the unauthorized practice of medicine means providing medical care without a license from the Nevada Board of Medical Examiners. So even if you have completed medical school and have a successful practice, you could still be subject to criminal penalties if you do not have your license. No matter what the profession is, practicing without a license can be a serious matter. Let De Castroverde Law Group and its experienced attorneys provide you with representation against any potential criminal liability.

How De Castroverde Law Group Can Help

If you hold an occupational or professional license, having it suspended or revoked may be one of your greatest fears. The De Castroverde Law Group has extensive experience defending against criminal and fraud charges or misconduct allegations. Contact us right away if you believe your license is at risk. Our professional representation can position you to retain your license and livelihood. Contact us today to learn your legal options.

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