PA Secretary of State

Board prosecutors file petitions called an Immediate Temporary Suspension (“ITS”) petition to temporarily and immediately suspend licensees ability to practice their profession. These petitions are typically reserved for Drug Act investigations or sexual assault cases. The ITS suspension lasts, at the most, for 180 days.

The ITS petition must be followed up with a preliminary hearing to address the probable cause alleged in the petition. A hearing must be scheduled and conducted within 30 days from the date of issuance of the suspension order. These preliminary hearings are limited to evidence on the issue of whether it is more likely than not a licensee engaged in any type of inappropriate criminal behavior supporting a temporary but emergent, suspension.Licensees are entitled to be present at the preliminary hearing, with or without an attorney, cross-examine witnesses, inspect evidence, call witnesses, and offer evidence and testimony.

If the hearing examiner does not find the prosecutor met their burden of proof, the licensee’s license and other authorizations to practice are immediately restored. If the prosecutor met their burden of proof, the temporary suspension remains in effect until vacated, but in no event longer than 180 days, unless otherwise ordered or agreed.

Orders for temporary suspension cases still require prosecutors to commence a separate disciplinary action seeking to suspend, revoke or otherwise restrict a licensee. This separate action is filed through of a charging document known as an Order to Show Cause (“OSC”). In the OSC, facts are not limited to those alleged in the ITS petition. The order to show cause is typically filed within the 180 day time, while the immediate temporary suspension is pending.

If a prosecutor does not file any disciplinary action or a case is not resolved before the 180 day period runs, the licensee is able to file a petition for the administrative reinstatement of the license. There is no hearing required and the board shall reinstate the licensee’s license. License reinstatement will issue even if there is a pending disciplinary action.

The post-180 day period is the time after which licenses can get their license back pending disciplinary action. I am currently handling several ITS cases with disciplinary action pending and not pending. In one case disciplinary action was not filed for over a year. The licensee did not file a petition to reinstate her license and did not engage in the practice of her profession.

This was a foolish mistake because absent disciplinary action, her license was subject to reinstatement without restriction after 180 days. A little bit of research and hiring counsel would have properly notified the licensee of the lack of basis to continue her suspension. License reinstatement is independent of any criminal prosecution or terms of a criminal sentence. Criminal prosecution can not include in a guilty plea agreement provisions that preclude a licensee from practicing your profession. Call me to discuss your case.