Kansas Professional Licensing Attorney Explains Due Process in Administrative Hearings

Due process of law is guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.  Each and every person is guaranteed due process protection every time life, liberty, or property is at stake.   Our system of law is premised upon the belief that life and liberty are fundamental to a free society.  Most associate this indispensable tenet of our law as applying to criminal trials but do not recognize the significance of due process in other areas of life.  Professional licensing attorney Danielle Sanger is highly experienced in representing licensees to ensure they enjoy all of the due process protections guaranteed by the Fifth amendment to the United States Constitution.

Depriving a person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law is not just idle legal theory. Due process protects us from arbitrary governmental action taking away something of ours we value. A person charged with a crime enjoys the highest level of protection the due process clause offers because their liberty, and maybe their life, may be taken from them.  In that context, due process means ensuring that a person is represented by competent counsel, is tried publically by an impartial jury of his or her peers, has the opportunity to confront and cross-examine witnesses called to testify, and, significantly, is made aware of the charges the government has  levied against him or her.

A professional licensee also enjoys due process protections when the government seeks to deprive them of their license. This is true because a professional license is “property” within the meaning of the due process clause. Notwithstanding, licensees facing discipline do not enjoy the same protections guaranteed to criminal defendants. A licensee who may be deprived of a professional license is guaranteed due process of law; however, the rights of the licensee are not as extensive in an administrative hearing as are a criminal defendant’s at a criminal trial.

Procedural distinctions between criminal trials and administrative hearings exist. The government in an administrative hearing is not required to specifically plead certain allegations. Rather, the government must inform the licensee about the factual allegations contained in the complaint sufficiently to allow the licensee to form a defense. If the facts are clearly set out, then the licensee has notice of the charges.  Notwithstanding, if the government pleads a violation of specific rules, then the government must prove a violation of the specific rule. Furthermore, allegations amended to the complaint based upon a licensee’s testimony at the hearing violates the due process rights of the licensee.

Kansas passed a statute called the “Administrative Procedure Act (the “Act”), which governs administrative hearings. The Act codifies the procedural rights parties enjoy when facing an administrative hearing. Under the Act, all licensees are afforded the opportunity to be heard and present a defense against the allegations, including the ability to call witnesses to testify on their behalf.  Parties have the right to cross-examine witnesses appearing against them. The Act mandates administrative hearings must be open to the public unless there is a compelling reason to close the hearing.

Take Immediate Action to Preserve Your Due Process Rights

Call Kansas Professional Licensing Attorney Danielle Sanger today at 785-979-4353 if you have been notified of a complaint by a professional licensing board. With 10 years of experience as an assistant attorney general, and many more representing professionals, Attorney Sanger will fight to protect your rights. Attorney Sanger will make certain that any hearing you face will be conducted fairly and impartially. Act now to protect your rights. Call professional licensing attorney Danielle Sanger today to schedule a free consultation.