Glossary of Key Terms Related to Florida Professional Licenses

Administrative Complaint: A legal document that charges violations of Florida Statutes or rules against a license.

Administrative Law: the branch of law dealing with government agencies

Administrative Law Judge:  an officer in a government agency with quasi-judicial functions concerning agency actions.  Also called an administrative judge or ALJ.

Declaratory Statement: a declaratory statement is an agency’s written opinion as to the applicability of a statutory provision, rule or Order of the agency to the petitioner’s particular set of circumstances.  The declaratory statement is final agency action and binding on the agency.

Division of Administrative Hearings: also referred to as DOAH.  This division within state government

Election of Rights: 

Informal HearingIf you are electing this type of hearing you are agreeing with the facts as alleged by the government agency.  There is no dispute with regard to the facts and you are essentially asking the agency to be lenient on you in terms of penalties.  You are essentially arguing mitigating factors which you believe show that you should not be harshly penalized.   Pursuant to Section 120.57(2), Florida Statues, the licensee may request a Hearing Not Involving Disputed Issues of Material Fact (informal hearing). In this situation the licensee does not dispute the factual allegations of the Administrative Complaint, but is given the opportunity to present evidence to mitigate any penalty or discipline. After hearing the evidence, the Board (or agency if there is no Board) will determine whether the Respondent should be disciplined and decide what kind of discipline, if any, is appropriate.

Final Order:  the written final decision of an agency following an administrative action, licensing denial, or mediawtion of an administrative dispute.

Florida Statutes—laws of Florida passed by the Florida Legislature and organized by subject into chapters.

Florida Administrative Code—administrative rules written by state government agencies pursuant to laws passed by the Florida Legislature.

Formal Hearing—If you are electing this type of hearing it means that you (the licensee or Respondent) are disputing some or all of the facts upon which the State of Florida is alleging against your license or business. Pursuant to Section 120.57(1), Florida Statues, the licensee may request a Hearing Involving a Disputed Issue of Material Fact (formal hearing). The case is heard by an Administrative Law Judge at the Division of Administrative Hearings. After presentation of evidence by both the Department and the Respondent, the Administrative Law Judge issues a Recommended Order to the Board or the government agency if there is no Board. The board (or agency) will consider the Judge’s recommendation, and any objections or exceptions presented by the Department or the Respondent. In these cases, the Board is restricted to the evidence and record presented during the Formal Hearing, and cannot hear or accept any new evidence. After considering the Recommended Order, the Board will issue a Final Order reflecting their final decision on the case.

ProbableCause Found/No Probable Cause Found:  A panel or Board or the Department found or did not find sufficient evidence to bring formal charges against a licensee.

Waiver—a situation where the licensee or Respondent fails to respond to a notice or administrative complaint from a government agency thereby waiving their rights to object to the government action.  If the Respondent fails to respond to an Administrative Complaint, the case may be heard by the Board as a waiver. Waiver proceedings are identical to Informal Hearings, except that the Respondent does not appear to present any evidence. The Board will review the case and may impose discipline against the Respondent’s license. As the Complainant, you have a right to attend any and all of these public hearings, but you are not required to do so unless called as a witness by the Department or by the Respondent. You have the right to present, within the rules of evidence and the laws of Florida on administrative proceedings, oral or written communication regarding the alleged violation or the penalty the Board may impose.