New York is known for its high number of highly-qualified and professional lawyers in different fields. In order to get that best representation, it is always important to understand the type of services offered by different lawyers.
What is OPD?
OPD in full means the Office of Professional Discipline. It is an agency in the education department with powers to investigate and prosecute all matters relating to professional misconduct.
OPD is the department that receives complaints from the public regarding various professionals and their work. Their work is to investigate the claims and institute appropriate legal action against the accused person.
For example, when a doctor or any other medical professional acts against the laid down professional code of conduct, he or she can be subjected into an investigation by the Office of Professional Discipline and be prosecuted if the claims present are proved to be true.
The Office of Professional Discipline has several regional offices across the state. Its main aim is to protect the public against professional misconduct. In other words, the OPD is responsible for investigating and prosecuting licensed professionals from different fields.
Although they represent professionals from various fields, there are disciplines that receive more and frequent complaints that others.
Below is a list of clients commonly represented by New York OPD lawyers:
• Social workers
• Physical therapists
What is professional misconduct and what does it entail?
Simply put, professional misconduct is a situation where a professional performs duties contrary to the expected standards. The Office of Professional Discipline in the Department of Education is the one charged with ensuring that all professionals adhere to the stipulated conduct of the operation.
Below are some of the things that constitute professional misconduct according to the Office of Professional Discipline (OPD):
• Engaging actions that can be interpreted as gross incompetence in one instance or repetitive incompetence and negligence
• Allowing an unlicensed individual to conduct duties that require a license to practice
• Sharing confidential information without prior permission
• Refusing to attend to a client because of their race, colour or religion
• Failure to keep records or provide critical information when requested
• Failing to attend a patient in need of emergency care
• Being convicted of a criminal offence
• Performing duties while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
• Practising beyond the prescribed scope of operation
What happens if a professional is found guilty?
There are several things that are bound to happen if allegations against a professional are found to be true.
If the misconduct is less serious, then a professional might be given a warning letter not to repeat the mistake. In case a professional is found guilty of a more serious mistake, then they can be fined up to $10,000 for every violation, their license suspended or cancelled and probation.
OPD investigation process
The Office of Professional Discipline has several investigating officers who are responsible for investigating claims brought before the OPD.
After conducting an investigation, the investigating officer will make a decision – based on the evidence found as to whether to close the case or proceed with the prosecution.
What you should do in case you are being investigated by the ODP
The Office of Professional Discipline will usually notify you about the ongoing investigation through an official letter or email. The moment you receive that email or letter, the first thing you should do is to seek help from New OPD defense lawyers.
An ODP defense lawyer understands how professional misconduct laws work and will be better placed to advise you on the next course of action. Remember as licensed professional you have a legal right to cooperate with the Office of Professional Discipline.
Selecting the best New York ODP defense lawyer
There are several things that you should always look out when choosing an OPD defense lawyer. The first one is experience. Choose a lawyer that has previously handled ODP related cases.
The second factor is to select someone you can comfortably work with. Avoid choosing a lawyer from a website to represent you without physically meeting with them.
In case you are a professional facing disciplinary charges in New York, you shouldn’t worry too much. There are several experienced OPD lawyers that can handle your case and guarantee a positive outcome.