There are two types of BVNPT hearings: one is like Law and Order, the other is more like being a contestant on Chopped. The type of BVNPT hearing you will have to attend will depend upon what the BVNPT is disciplining you for or what you are requesting.
When the BVNPT Hearing is Like Law and Order
If you have been served with an Accusation against your LVN license, you will have the option of requesting a Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians hearing in the Notice of Defense.
This notice MUST BE RETURNED WITHIN 15 DAYS in order for you to preserve the right for you to argue the Accusation at all!
If you do not return the Notice of Defense, the BVNPT will follow the recommended discipline in the Prayer section, meaning your LVN license will be revoked on a default order. It is absolutely critical for you to return the Notice of Defense requesting the BVNPT hearing and to do it on time.
Once you’ve requested the BVNPT hearing, you actually have two options.
- Your attorney negotiates what is called a Stipulated Settlement and if the BVNPT approves and adopts it, you can avoid going to the BVNPT hearing altogether. This is what we recommend in the majority of cases. More often than not, the result will be the same as it would be if you actually went to the hearing and it costs you less in legal retainers.
- You go to the BVNPT hearing.
The BVNPT hearing itself is kind of like the courtroom you see on TV with a few notable exceptions. It is not “Court” being the biggest difference. When dealing with the BVNPT, you are dealing with administrative law, so the hearing will have an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), rather than a typical Judge. This Judge does not wear robes. The hearing will be held at an Office of Administrative Hearings, not at a courthouse, and the room will look more like a college classroom than a TV courtroom. There is the Administrative Law Judge, you and your attorney, the BVNPT’s attorney and maybe a witness or expert. There may be a few nursing or law students observing, and that’s it.
The biggest similarity is in the presentation of evidence. It is the attorney’s job to make the case for their client and then for the Administrative Law Judge to make a decision based on the facts. While the setting may look like your high school debate class, the law is just as serious as a criminal courtroom. Your LVN license is on the line. Your entire career is at stake.
A BVNPT hearing is NOT the time to go in thinking you can wave around a few letters of recommendation and have your mom testify that you’re a good person while wearing your best suit.
The BVNPT’s attorney does this all day, every day. It is their JOB and their SOLE PURPOSE to persuade the Administrative Law Judge to revoke your LVN license for violating the Nurse Practice Act. They will have witnesses and experts and charts and files. They will have testimony from your colleagues. They will drag every skeleton you’ve crammed into the back of a closet out and parade them around like a scene out of a horror movie. If you did not properly submit discovery within the right time frame, you may be prevented from even presenting to help your case.
In short, do not take these BVNPT hearings lightly. The BVNPT, the Deputy Attorney General of California, and the Administrative Law Judge all take them very seriously, and so should you. Please have an attorney who knows what they are doing presently to represent you. You wouldn’t represent yourself in a criminal trial where your freedom was on the line; don’t represent yourself when your career is on the line either.
Once the BVNPT hearing is over, the Administrative Law Judge will take all presented evidence under consideration and will render a recommended decision to the BVNPT in a few weeks. The BVNPT then has the right to adopt the Administrative Law Judge‘s decision or reject it and impose whatever discipline they deem fit. You will not know the result of the hearing that same day.
Don’t go into this hearing unprepared and without a proper nurse attorney. Contact us today to have one of our experienced nurse attorneys beside you during your hearing.
When the BVNPT Hearing is Like an Episode of Chopped
The other type of BVNPT hearing is one before the actual Board of Vocational Nursing & Psychiatric Technicians itself. These are required for nurses who are petitioning for a reinstatement of a revoked license or reduction or early termination of probation terms. These hearings are nothing like a courtroom, but rather are in front of a panel of the members of the BVNPT and perhaps hundreds of other nurses or observers at the meeting. Hence, like Chopped, but with a huge studio audience and panel judges who already think you’re a bad cook.
You will have less than 15 minutes to present your case. The burden of proof is on you to show why you are no longer a public threat as a nurse and why your license should be reinstated or your probation lessened.
You must present facts.
You cannot simply say sorry, I’m reformed and I’ll never do it again while wearing your best suit.
The BVNPT will sniff the food, turn up their noses and chop you. And unless you’ve actually been a contestant on Chopped, are a glutton for public speaking in huge crowds or won All-State in college debate, you will be hard pressed to stay calm and focused enough to be persuasive under that kind of pressure. In my opinion, the hearings before the panel are far more stressful than the one before the Administrative Law Judge and having the right representation even more important.
With the Administrative Law Judge, you have all day, with the BVNPT hearing, you have 7-15 minutes!
Your attorney will have been working with you for almost a year leading up to this hearing. They will have advised you on everything you should be doing to present the best case. They will have compiled the most compelling evidence and they will deliver it seamlessly in that short time before the Board. You will not have to say a word, you can just be there, looking great in your best suit.
How to Avoid the BVNPT Hearing Altogether
The easiest type of BVNPT hearing to avoid is the Chopped one, as these are only required if you’ve lost your license in the first place or are saddled with discipline you don’t want to comply with. If you have the right attorney defending you in the first place, you should not lose your LVN license. If you have the right attorney defending you, you will be given probation terms or discipline that you can live with for a few years.
The best way to avoid the BVNPT hearing before the Administrative Law Judge is to retain an attorney to negotiate a stipulated settlement for you. This is our attorneys preferred method because we get to present the same evidence, we deal directly with the BVNPT’s attorney and we can come to an agreement in almost every single case that does not require suspension or revocation of the LVN license. Once we convince the BVNPT’s lawyer to agree with us, they present this to the BVNPT and the BVNPT almost always adopts the settlement offer. This way, you avoid the expense, stress, and uncertainty of the BVNPT hearing and the results are virtually guaranteed.
You’ve likely seen a theme throughout this post: your best result hinges on the best attorney. I know, I know, this seems not-so-subtly self-serving, but it is absolutely true!
An attorney whose specialty is Administrative Law with a laser focus on RN representation before the BVNPT is hard to come by, but absolutely essential if you want to keep your LVN license and get the least amount of discipline. Defending California Licensed Vocational Nurses is all we do. That is it.
We’ve been to hundreds of hearings, before Administrative Law Judges and the Panel of the BVNPT and we have a 99% success rate in keeping our client’s licenses or getting our clients their LVN licenses reinstated.
Let us wear the suit, so you will get to keep wearing your best scrubs.
Don’t feel like you have to fight for your RN/LVN license by yourself. Our expert nurse attorneys have an excellent track record of defending and retaining licenses against the board. Don’t make the common mistake of trying to do this alone, and jeopardize losing your license to nurse. Take the first step towards peace of mind by contacting our team today.