Why you should hire an attorney prior to meeting with an LLR Investigator
You receive a Notice of Complaint from an LLR investigator. The notice should come as a written document but sometimes the investigator will send the notice and immediately call the licensee regarding the case. The investigator may or may not say specifically why the LLR investigator is contacting you. Some investigators like to be transparent and tell you code section(s) you have allegedy violated, while other investigators merely say that LLR is looking into your practice in your designated field.
Whether or not you know specifically why you are being investigated by LLR, the investigator will likely request a meeting to discuss this issues. For many people, this meeting turns out to be basis of the case against them. At the meeting, the investigator briefly discuss the allegations against you and then asks you respond to those allegations. For many people, this immediate and often off the cuff response is used as evidence collected by the investigator in trying to prove their case.
The issues I most I often see when a client comes to me after their meeting with the LLR investigator are: 1) they didn’t know or understand what part of the practice act they are accused of violating; 2) they are scared of loosing their license and respond without thinking about what they’re saying or how their statements will be interpreted; 3) they have provided the investigator with a signed response to the allegations; and 4) they don’t understand that all the statements they made can be used in the case against them and used to prove additional violation not initially disclosed by the investigator.
It is important to understand the the LLR investigator is only a fact finder. They do not have the authority to determine the outcome of a case nor should they provide any information as to how the case will be handled. I often hear, “But the investigator told me not to worry.” The investigator has no decision making authority, so whether your should worry or not is not their decision. The investigator presents everything they have obtained in the course of the investigation to the Investigative Review Committee (IRC). The IRC is made up of the LLR investigator, the investigator’s supervisor, the Board Administrator, members of the profession, and counsel from the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. This group of individuals hears the evidence collected by the investigator, the case is discussed and then a decision is made as to how the case should be handled moving forward.
Given the ramifications that a meeting with an LLR investigator can have on the outcome of your case, it is important to call an attorney and seek help before meeting or providing a statement to LLR.Just as in other legal venues, your statements can and will be used against you.It is important to have an experienced attorney by your side even at these early stages of the investigation.