In the age of the Internet, it is imperative that any professional licensed by the State of California, from an accountant or contractor to a physician or physical therapist, look himself or herself up on the licensing board’s website on an occasional and frequent basis. The Department of Consumer Affairs–which oversees the vast majority of professional licenses–even has a centralized portal for doing so.
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BreEZe Online Services is a one-stop shop to access your license and check its present status. However other Departments–Alcoholic Beverage Control, Insurance, Motor Vehicles–have other methods to look-up their licensees directly through their website.
Why would this be important you ask?  This blog addresses the top five reasons one needs to monitor their own licensing listing.

Licenses Can Expire

Most licenses are not permanent. Most have a renewal requirement. Looking up your license makes sure that you know when your license expires–and hence–needs to be renewed. And in the event you forgot and it has expired, it puts you on notice that you need to take action to stop your practice or get the matter corrected.
Most portals provide an easy method to renew, ask questions, and update their contact information where necessary.

You could have a citation you do not know about

In a recent case during a Veterinary Medical Board investigation, one of our clients noted a citation listed on the Board’s website.  Interestingly enough, neither the veterinarian nor our firm as his legal counsel ever received a copy of the citation from the Board, had the chance to appeal the citation from the Board, and do not even know exactly what the terms of the citation are including the alleged violations or the fine.  While a citation is not considered a disciplinary action by all licensing boards, there is a fine associated with a citation, which if not paid promptly within 30 days, can result in a disciplinary action.

Your license could be revoked with a Default Decision

Surprisingly enough, over the years, Simas & Associates, Ltd. has represented clients who woke up one morning, for some reason looked on the website of the particular licensing board, and learned that their current license to practice their profession was revoked.
This can happen for a number of reasons, the most frequent of which is failure to update one’s address. We have had clients in which a renewal application lost in the mail.  The board never got the check or the application; thus, the ability of the licensee to practice was suspended.
In another cases, the licensee had a disciplinary action issued against her in another State that California received and upon which the California board took action.  In yet another case, the license was suspended for failure of our client to complete her continuing education requirement.
In most licensing cases under the Administrative Procedure Act in California, failure to respond to a licensing action can result in a default license revocation.  So for a licensee who has moved around from other States, had some sort of investigation, hospital investigation, criminal action, or other issue, it is imperative to check your listing on the board’s website.  Your license could be revoked by default without you knowing it.

Checking/updating your address

In most cases of default license revocation as discussed above, the reason for it is a failure to update one’s current address with their respective licensing board.  Most licensing boards have a regulatory or statutory requirement that licensees continually update their current addresses for purposes of the board being able to communicate with the licensee.  In fact, should the board wish to take an action against the licensee, they will simply use the last known recorded address and failure to respond, as discussed above, could result in a default action.
Because the Board receives information, criminal histories, reports of civil suits and settlements, etc. from many sources, any of these can launch any inquiry to which the licensee is obligated to respond. And if the Board cannot reach you, you cannot respond.

Pobody’s Nerfect – Mistakes are made

In a number of the above-discussed cases Simas & Associates has handled, the licensing boards have actually made mistakes.  We have been able to set aside default decisions, correct wrongfully listed citations, and otherwise clarify the situation once we know there is a misreported item on a licensee’s website listing.
It takes little effort to periodically look yourself up on your licensing board’s website.  And while the frequency of the issues discussed in this blog is minimal, the consequences of failing to discover something are great.
If you are not sure how to look-up your license, visit our look-up tool on our website here: California License Look-Up.