Long Island lawyers offer concrete legal representation to all licensed professionals before the Office of the Professional Discipline (OPD). There are several qualified lawyers – who for many years have represented professionals from different fields.
What is OPD?
OPD stands for the Office of Professional Discipline. It is an agency within the state department of education that has the power to investigate and prosecute all matters concerning professional misconduct by licensed professionals with a few exceptions – For instance physicians and lawyers are disciplined by different bodies.
The office of professions in the New York State has a total of 50 professions that require state licensing. Consequently, any licensed professional in New York falls under the Office of Professional Discipline.
It is important to note that there are several regional OPD offices in the State of New York. The main objective of the Office of Professional Discipline is to guard the public against professional negligence. That means that the OPD is the agency mandated to investigate and prosecute all complaints of misconduct against professionals.
Typical OPD clients
Long Island professional defence attorneys represent hundreds of professionals across the region brought to the OPD for several misconduct claims. Although they represent professionals from other fields, a majority of those who seek legal representations are healthcare professionals.
They include the following:
• Physical therapists
• Nurses (LPNs & RNs)
• Social worker
• Mental health professionals
From the list above, most incidents and complaints are against nurses – making them the most vulnerable group.
What is professional misconduct?
Simply put, professional misconduct is the failure of a professional to perform his or her duties as per the expected standards of practice.
In Long Island, there are set standards that all professionals are expected to adhere to. There are almost 50 types of violations and professionally found violating any of them are liable for disciplinary action by the board of Regents.
Below are the most common professional misconduct charges:
• Practising beyond the stipulated scope of one’s profession
• Practising with gross incompetence or negligence.
• Failure to keep records or maintain proper documentation
• Being convicted of any crime as a professional
• Practising without a valid license or allowing others to do the same.
• Alcohol and drug abuse
• Fraudulent practice such as insurance fraud
• Sexual misconduct
These are just but a few. There are many other forms of professional misconduct that can attract disciplinary action from the OPD against any professional.
As a professional, you should ensure that you hire a competent OPD lawyer to represent you before the disciplinary board. Remember not all lawyers are trained to handle OPD issues and therefore choosing just any lawyer might affect you negatively.
What if the OPD finds a professional guilty?
If the offence is not serious, then the misconduct will be resolved without a major impact on the defendant’s career. For example, the professional might just be issued with a warning letter.
In case the OPD investigations find that indeed there was professional negligence on the part of the professional, then the defendant is likely to face different forms of penalties such as a fine going up to $10,000 for every violation. A professional might also be sent on suspension or probation and in some serious cases, their license revoked.
OPD investigation process
Due to the large volume of cases every year, the Office of Professional Discipline employs a lot of professional investigators who are charged to look into and investigate all the complaints brought forward.
After the investigations, the investigating officer will decide whether to close the case due to lack of sufficient evidence or move it forward for prosecution – if there’s enough evidence to support the claims.
What happens when you are under OPD’s investigation?
The Office of the OPD will send you a letter informing you about the ongoing investigations. In some instance, you will be contacted through a telephone call.
Immediately you receive that call or letter, call your attorney to get more directions on the matter. There are many experienced lawyers with regard to OPD matters and they will definitely advise you on what to do next.
Choosing the right Long Island attorney for your OPD case
Long Island has a lot of lawyers well versed in different aspects of the law including OPD matters.
In order to increase your chances of winning the case, it is important to choose an experienced lawyer in OPD matters. Ensure that he or she has previously represented other professionals and helped them win their cases.
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