Possible Outcomes for Regulatory Action by the ASD
If ASD finds probable cause that a licensee has committed a violation, regulatory action may be taken against a licensee in the following forms:
Voluntary Settlement Agreements: At the informal stage, a licensee and ASD agree to settle by entering into an agreement. The licensee waives a right to a hearing. A monetary penalty often is imposed with voluntary settlement agreements.
Surrender of License(s): In lieu of a regulatory hearing, the licensee can surrender the license(s) by signing a notarized surrender document. The licensee must also agree in writing (s)he is forfeiting his/her rights to a regulatory hearing.
Consent Orders: If the matter is referred by ASD for a formal hearing and ASD files a Notice of Hearing, the licensee and ASD can voluntarily agree to the regulatory action, subject to approval by a Hearing Officer appointed by the Commissioner to preside over the matter.
Revocation of License(s), Suspension of License(s) and/or Imposition of Monetary Penalty: If a settlement cannot be reached or a licensee does not want to surrender his/her license, the case will be scheduled for a formal public hearing, which is an evidentiary hearing with many similarities to a trial in court. The licensee or his or her legal counsel have the right to present evidence in defense, including calling witnesses and introducing exhibits, to make objections, to cross-examine any witness called by ASD, and to make a closing argument. If they have not done so already, most professionals decide that they need to retain an attorney at the formal stage, with which our firm has experience. The Hearing Officer, after a full regulatory hearing, may dismiss the case, or enter a decision to suspend or revoke a license or impose a monetary penalty. Appeal of the Hearing Officer’s decision is to the court system. Generally, it is much more difficult for a licensee to prevail once the matter reaches the court system on an appeal, even if he or she retains legal counsel at that point.