Dreams Deferred: Avoiding and Fighting Illinois Professional License Application Denials

You have studied and sacrificed. You have put hours upon hours and years upon years into your education and training in order to practice your chosen profession or occupation. You’re ready to begin your career and serve your clients or patients. But you can’t do that unless you receive a license from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR). And if the IDFPR denies your license application, all you’ve worked so hard for is at risk.

Applying for a professional license in Illinois can be a complicated process, and any number of missteps can lead the Department to reject your application. While the receipt of an “Intent to Deny” letter from the IDFPR is not necessarily the end of the road for your career dreams, it does mean that the process can become much more difficult and involved. That is why it is so important to make sure that your initial application is complete, truthful, and satisfies all necessary requirements.

Incomplete or Untruthful Applications

The IDFPR is responsible for reviewing license applications in 235 separate categories covered by 61 different professional license acts. While there are many application requirements that are profession or industry specific, some requirements apply universally across all licenses and professions. The most fundamental of these is the duty, under penalty of perjury, to provide answers that are “true, correct, and complete.” If you lie on your application; if you fail to provide relevant information about your criminal history, prior disciplinary or licensing issues in other states, or other relevant information, your application stands a very good chance of being denied.

Criminal History and Past Conduct

The Department can refuse to issue a license or grant a registration if an applicant has been convicted of any crime that is a felony (although recent changes in the law may reduce the chances of a denial on this basis; or that is a misdemeanor, an essential element of which is dishonesty, or that is directly related to the practice of the profession.

The IDFPR will review the circumstances of an applicant’s criminal history and issue a decision on whether or not the information provided disqualifies the individual from licensure, registration, or practice. By the Department’s own admission, this is a highly subjective, and thus unpredictable, standard.

Similarly, an applicant can be denied a license for “engaging in dishonorable, unethical, or unprofessional conduct of a character likely to deceive, defraud, or harm the public.” This too is a highly subjective analysis which can make fighting a denial on this basis a challenging task.

Fighting a Denial

If the Department believes that there is a reason your application should be denied, it will send you an “Intent to Deny” letter. You then have 30 days to respond to the letter to contest the denial and request a hearing. AT such a hearing, you have the opportunity to explain your case and to provide additional information or to answer questions the Department may have.

You should not engage in this process without the assistance of an experienced professional license defense attorney. If your application is again denied at this stage, you could find yourself and your application tied up in administrative limbo for a long time. An experienced IDFPR lawyer will know how make the best case and increase the chances that your application will be approved. Your reputation, career and livelihood are at stake.  Now is not the time to take a flyer and hope for the best.

Louis Fine: Chicago Professional License Defense Attorney

As a former Chief Prosecuting Attorney and administrative law judge for IDFPR, I have seen the serious consequences that an Illinois professional license application denial can have on those who have invested so much. I understand how and why the Department decides to deny applications and can assist you at every stage of the process, beginning with the preparation and submission of your initial application.

Please give me a call at (312) 236-2433 or fill out my online form to arrange for your free initial consultation.