Indiana Architect License Defense Attorney
Most people will probably never know the importance of the role of architects and landscape architects, yet they see the product of your work all around them. As a registered architect or landscape architect, you know that your occupation may fly under the radar of public awareness, but many do not know that an architect’s license is subject to being reviewed by the State Board of Registration for Architects and Landscape Architects (Board). When faced with allegations that could impact your license, you need an Indiana architect license defense attorney to protect your livelihood and career.
The state requires registration and licensure for your chosen profession and retains the right to deny or revoke your license. An experienced Indiana architect license defense lawyer from Keffer Hirschauer LLP can help you protect your right to work by defending your license application and fighting allegations that threaten your license. Whether you face denial of registration of your license or a threat to maintaining your registration, Keffer Hirschauer LLP is in your corner to offer you an opportunity to be licensed through legal defense counsel.
Why Hiring the Right Indiana Architect License Defense Attorney is Critical
Architecture is a specialized field of work that requires advanced knowledge in math, construction methods, materials, environmental issues, and more. As a result, Indiana requires higher education credentials and successful completion of a professional examination in order to become licensed to work in the state.
Not only does the final product of an architecture or landscape architecture project have to be aesthetically pleasing, but it must also be legally and environmentally compliant. From small jobs to those covering hundreds of acres, the construction of structures and designing and creating landscapes covers many types of projects, and one small mistake may result in dissatisfactory outcomes or even negative or dangerous impacts to surrounding structures, infrastructure, or the environment.
Accountability, then, is a big issue for architects. You want your clients to be happy with how the finished product looks, but your clients also need to be happy with the way you carried out the mission. Having hired you, the client can become vicariously liable for any missteps on your part.
When clients are dissatisfied or a project has serious consequences for surrounding buildings, infrastructure, or grounds, you may face complaints from clients that could threaten your authority to work as an architect in the state. All those years of study and work to establish yourself can go down the drain if you are accused of not performing your work and conducting your business in a professional manner.
Any complaint can hurt your professional status as a licensed architect or landscape architect. And complaints may come not only from clients but also (or instead) from other interested parties who take issue with your work. Contractors, owners, financers, environmental groups, adjoining property owners, and governmental regulatory entities other than the Board are but a few of the potential sources of complaints against architects and landscape architects. The risk to your license is lessened when you engage the help of an Indiana architect license defense attorney from Keffer Hirschauer LLP.
Possible Challenges that May Require an Indiana Architect License Defense Attorney
Architects and landscape architects are subject to Indiana’s Professional Licensing Standards of Practice. First, these standards require you to be fit to be licensed as an architect or landscape architect and that you remain fit to be so licensed.
To be eligible for licensure in Indiana, you must not have a criminal record with a conviction for a felony that has a direct bearing on your ability to practice competently or for a crime that is harmful to the public. These two criteria can be interpreted rather broadly and could be the basis for a challenge to an adverse Board decision.
Once registered, these two criteria remain in effect for architects and landscape architects. Conviction of a crime in one of these categories could lead to a revocation of your Indiana professional license. Strong representation before the Board can be crucial to contest whether a crime has a direct bearing or whether it is harmful to the public. When you work with an Indiana architect professional license lawyer from Keffer Hirschauer LLP, you have at your disposal experience needed to successfully fight for your right to work as a licensed architect or landscape architect in Indiana.
The standards of practice also address other conduct that can threaten your registration and livelihood. Some that may apply to your profession include the following:
- Engaging in fraud in order to obtain registration
- Engaging in fraud or material deception in the course of professional services or activities
- Using false or misleading advertising
- Knowingly violating a statute, rule, or other official directive regulating the profession of architects or landscape architects
- Allowing your name or registration to be used in connection with another person or business who renders services beyond the scope of the person’s or business’ training, experience, or competence
- Having had disciplinary action taken against you or your license in another state or jurisdiction
- Assisting another person in committing an action that constitutes grounds for disciplinary sanctions
Indiana Code § 25-1-11-5 contains a more detailed list of conduct that could negatively impact your licensure in Indiana.
Architects and landscape architects licensed in Indiana are also subject to two additional specific prohibitions. First, you may not permit your seal to be affixed to plans, specifications, or drawings that you did not personally prepare or were not prepared under your supervision by your employees. Second, you may not use the title “engineer” unless you are licensed as a professional engineer.
The status of your license also requires careful monitoring. If you are found to have offered services while your license was not current, you may be assessed a civil penalty of $1,000 every day that you offered services while not properly licensed is a separate infraction, which could result in a sizeable total fine. Further, if you are assessed a civil penalty, that fact can serve as a basis for license revocation.
The Stages of Processing Complaints
Complaints can come to the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Attorney General from any person or entity, including the Board itself. All complaints must be in writing and signed by the complainant. Indiana Code chapter 25-1-7 governs the investigation and prosecution of complaints against licensed professionals, including architects and landscape architects.
The law charges the Consumer Protection Division with the responsibility to investigate complaints against architects, landscape architects, and other licensed professionals. The Division waits for a minimum of 30 days before taking any further action, allowing time for the parties to reach a settlement to resolve the allegations in the complaint. If that does not occur, the Division may investigate further to gather additional information and facts.
An Indiana Architect License Defense Attorney Can Help During Settlement Negotiations
Settling the complaint is often the best resolution for both you and the person or entity that filed the complaint. However, do not confuse the opportunity to settle with your best interest. And never enter into settlement negotiations without the assistance of an architect license attorneys in Indianapolis to advise you of your rights. Engaging an Indiana architect professional license lawyer as soon after you receive notice of a complaint provide you experienced, professional help in negotiating a settlement before the matter ever reaches the Board.
If the parties do not reach a settlement, the Consumer Protection Division proceeds to investigate the allegations in the complaint. Once an investigation is complete, the director of the Consumer Protection Division must make an initial determination whether the complaint appears to have merit.
If the director determines a complaint has merit and that the accused architect or landscape architect should be subjected to disciplinary action by the Board, the matter transfers to the attorney general, who must decide whether to prosecute the complaint before the Board. However, if the complaint was the result of unanimous vote by the Board, the attorney general must proceed with prosecution. If prosecuted, the architect or landscape architect is entitled to a hearing before the Board or an administrative law judge.
No architect or landscape architect should attempt to navigate settlement negotiations or defense before the Board or an administrative law judge without the assistance of an experienced Indiana architect license defense attorney. An Indiana architect professional license lawyer from Keffer Hirschauer LLP understands the lay of the land regarding professional license complaints and gives you the best shot of protecting your license and livelihood.
Potential Disciplinary Actions Imposed by the Board
If, following a hearing results, the Board determines that your conduct merits discipline, the Board may impose disciplinary action in a variety of way, including ordering any of the following:
- Permanent revocation of your license
- Suspension of your license
- Issuance of a written reprimand
- Assessment of a civil penalty of not more than $1,000
- Restitution to the person who suffered damage
All of these penalties are harmful—if not fatal—to your career.
The best way to avoid the dire consequences associated with professional disciplinary action is to engage the services of an Indiana architect license defense lawyer early in the process, ideally as soon as you become aware that a complaint has been filed. Waiting only allows the state and the case to gather momentum against you.
Find Your Experienced Indiana Architect License Defense Attorney at Keffer Hirschauer LLP
Attacks on your professionalism, work, or qualifications for licensure can have serious consequences ranging from the hassle of defending yourself to the revocation of your license and loss of your right to work. But you don’t have to deal with such threats by yourself. For representation and guidance by an experienced Indiana architect license defense attorney, call Keffer Hirschauer LLP. To learn more about how we can help, call (317) 857-0160 or visit our contact page for a free consultation.