Las Vegas Social Worker License Defense Lawyer
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Experienced Social Worker License Defense Lawyer In Las Vegas, NV
You have worked hard to become a licensed social worker, spending around six years and thousands of dollars to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree. You have also completed several years of supervised work experience under a licensed social worker and passed a challenging licensing exam. Your professional license is now crucial to your career as a social worker.
Being accused of misconduct and having the state licensing board investigate a complaint can be frightening and disruptive, even for a simple misunderstanding or a brief lapse of judgment. The situation can have long-term consequences for your profession, leaving you uncertain about the future. If the Nevada Board of Examiners for Social Workers revokes or suspends your license, you may wonder about the fate of your patients or clients and the possibility of losing your career. If you find yourself in this situation, contact our Las Vegas social worker license defense lawyer at the Spartacus Law Firm as soon as possible for a free consultation.
Understanding The Nevada Board Of Examiners For Social Workers
To regulate licensing, investigate complaints, and administer discipline for licensed social workers, each state has its own licensing board. If you are licensed in Nevada, you must comply with and report to the Nevada Board Of Examiners For Social Workers.
Moreover, although each state is responsible for regulating licensed social workers, all social work licensing boards in the US are connected to the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), a non-profit organization that establishes uniform licensing standards and examinations for social workers across the nation. This means that while the requirements for obtaining a license differ by state, the codes of conduct and disciplinary procedures are relatively alike throughout the states, as supported by the ASWB.
Potential Violations Of The Social Work Practice Act
Each state has its own set of regulations that complement the standards set by the ASWB. A breach of either the board regulations or public trust could lead to loss of license. Some common examples of violations that could endanger your social work license include:
- Acting outside the scope of your license. Social workers are divided into different licensing levels in most states and each level has specific limitations. Violating the limitations of your license can result in losing it.
- Unprofessional conduct. This term covers a wide range of actions that may be considered unethical, immoral, or mistreatment of patients.
- Criminal convictions. Being found guilty of specific criminal offenses, especially those related to ethics, can put your architecture license at risk. The standards for this vary among states, with some states disqualifying architects with a felony conviction, and other states revoking licenses for any type of conviction.
- Substance abuse. The board may suspend or revoke your license if you have a drug or alcohol addiction that could affect your ability to help others properly.
- Fraud. Submitting false bills to insurance companies, particularly for your own services, can be evidence of fraud and lead to the revocation of your license.
- Moral turpitude/gross immorality. Engaging in highly immoral behaviors such as sexual harassment or inappropriate relationships with colleagues or patients can result in the revocation of one’s license.
- Permitting an unlicensed person to perform licensed work. Allowing an unlicensed colleague or employee to perform social work that is only meant to be done by licensed individuals could result in the loss of your own right to practice.
What Other Sanctions Could I Face Besides Loss Of License?
Your social worker’s license may not be revoked for every offense as the licensing boards have discretion in deciding on other types of disciplinary actions or sanctions that would enable you to still practice. This is why it’s so important to have a skilled Las Vegas social worker license defense lawyer in your corner. For instance, these may involve:
- License suspension. Depending on the circumstances, you may be temporarily or permanently prohibited from practicing. However, there may be an opportunity for you to be reinstated in the future.
- Fines. The board may penalize you financially.
- Probation. You may be placed on probation for a specific period of time and allowed to continue your practice with certain conditions.
- Limitations on licensure. Your license may have restrictions imposed by the board for specific activities or services.
- Continuing education requirements. If the reason for the violation is believed to be due to a lack of education on your part, the board may ask you to take specific CE courses to make up for that gap.
- Formal reprimand or censure. If you receive a written reprimand from the board, it will be made a part of your public record.
Violations Of The Social Work Practice Act
If it is found that someone has violated the SWPA, the Board has the authority to take various actions. These may include denying a license to someone who is applying for Nevada licensure, imposing fines or reprimanding current licensees, placing a licensee on probation, or suspending or revoking the license of an applicant or licensee. Some examples of SWPA violations include, but are not limited to:
- Practicing social work without a valid Nevada license;
- Having a romantic relationship with a current or former client or patient;
- Having any form of sexual contact with a current or former client or patient;
- Failing to report child sexual or physical abuse;
- Failing to keep appropriate client or patient records;
- Socializing with clients or patients; and
- Billing an insurance company for services that were not rendered.
Obtaining and protecting a social work license in Nevada can be challenging due to the various regulations that govern them. Social workers must strictly follow these regulations to maintain compliance and their license. If you’re facing allegations against your license, contact our Las Vegas social worker license defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Apply For A Social Worker’s License In Nevada With A Criminal Record?
It is possible for the Nevada Social Work Board to deny a license to those who do not meet the standards of good moral character. However, having traffic tickets or minor misdemeanors is unlikely to automatically disqualify someone from obtaining a license. Though the following crimes may signify a lack of good moral character in the Board’s eyes:
It is recommended that individuals with a criminal record meet with a Las Vegas social worker license defense lawyer who specializes in these types of cases to understand how they can improve their chances of obtaining a social worker’s license.
What Do I Do After A Complaint Is Filed Against Me To The Nevada Social Work Board?
To initiate any disciplinary proceedings in Nevada, a complaint must be filed first. If any member of the general public lodges an informal complaint against you with the Nevada Social Work Board, they will investigate it further if there is a potential violation indicated.
If the Board thinks you broke the law, they will file a complaint against you and schedule a hearing. You can usually keep your social work license while the hearing is going on. At any point during the process, you can choose to settle the complaint by making a written agreement with the Board called a “consent decree.” Consent decrees can be compared to plea bargains in criminal cases, but they are used in administrative settings. They are used as a way to avoid the uncertainty that a hearing, similar to a trial, can bring.
If I Don’t Lose My License, Can Other Sanctions Still Hurt My Career?
Yes, any disciplinary actions taken against you by a regulatory board are public record. This means that any sanctions placed on your record can be viewed by the public. This information can influence the decision of a firm, agency, or patient when deciding whether to work with you. Additionally, the ASWB keeps a database of disciplinary actions, so even if you become licensed in another state, any sanctions from a previous state may still be accessible.
Can I Go To Jail For Practicing Social Work Without A License In Nevada?
Engaging in social work without a valid license in Nevada is considered a misdemeanor. However, for first-time offenders, a fine is more probable than serving time in jail. Below are the potential penalties:
- Up to $1,000 in fines, and/or
- Up to 6 months in jail
Am I Allowed To Continue Working While The Investigation Is Underway?
There are two possible scenarios where your license as a social worker may be temporarily suspended while an investigation is ongoing. The first is if the board finds it necessary and the second is if the practice or agency you work for has a policy to place social workers on leave during investigations. However, if neither of these scenarios applies, you can continue with your usual work until the board instructs you otherwise.
Am I Required To Tell People That My License Or Practice Is Being Investigated?
In you are not required by law to inform your patients, clients, or colleagues about your license being in danger or being investigated. However, your workplace may have a policy which mandates you to disclose such information. If you fail to do so, you may be dismissed from your job. Please note that the board may contact them as witnesses and they may become aware of the ongoing investigation.
Contact Our Las Vegas Social Worker License Defense Lawyer Now
If you’re facing negative accusations that could threaten your professional social worker license in Nevada, the Spartacus Law Firm can help. Our experienced Las Vegas social worker license defense lawyer can defend your license, reputation, and financial future. We’ll work to disprove the allegations against you and may even be able to get your case dismissed entirely. Don’t let the years of hard work and money you’ve invested in your profession go to waste. Contact our office today for a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help.