Businesses and Professions

Public Accountancy

SECTION 5-3.1-14

§ 5-3.1-14. Initiation of proceedings – Hearings before board – Appeals – Notice to other states.

(a) The board may initiate proceedings under this chapter against a licensee either on its own motion, on the complaint of any person, upon the finding of probable cause by a probable cause committee appointed by the board pursuant to § 5-3.1-4, or upon receiving notification from another state board of accountancy of its decision to:

(1) Revoke, suspend, or refuse to renew the practice privileges granted in that state to the licensee, or

(2) Censure in writing, limit the scope of practice, impose an administrative fine upon, or place on probation the licensee.

(b) A written notice stating the nature of the charge or charges against the licensee and the time and place of the hearing before the board on the charges shall be served on the licensee not less than twenty (20) days prior to the date of the hearing either personally or by mailing a copy of the notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the address of the licensee last known to the board.

(c) If, after being served with the notice of hearing as provided for in this section, the licensee fails to appear at the hearing and to defend against the stated charges, the board may proceed to hear evidence against the licensee and may enter an order that is justified by the evidence. That order is final unless the licensee petitions for a review of it as provided in this chapter; provided, that within thirty (30) days from the date of any order, upon a showing of good cause for failing to appear and defend, the board may reopen the proceedings and may permit the licensee to submit evidence in his, her, or its behalf.

(d)(1) At any hearing under this section, the licensee may:

(i) Appear in person or be represented by counsel;

(ii) Produce evidence and witnesses on his, her, or its behalf;

(iii) Cross examine witnesses; and

(iv) Examine any evidence that is produced.

(2) A partnership may be represented before the board by counsel or by any partner. A corporation may be represented before the board by counsel or by any shareholder or member of the corporation. A sole proprietorship may be represented before the board by counsel or by the sole proprietor. The licensee is entitled, on written application to the board, to the issuance of subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses on the licensee's behalf.

(e) The board or any member of the board may issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of documents, and may administer oaths, take testimony, hear proofs, and receive exhibits in evidence in connection with or upon a hearing under this chapter. In case of disobedience to a subpoena, the board may petition the superior court to require the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of documentary evidence.

(f) The board shall not be bound by strict rules of procedure or by the laws of evidence in the conduct of its proceedings, but any determination of the board shall be based upon sufficient legal evidence to sustain the determination.

(g) A stenographic record of all hearings under this section shall be kept and a transcript filed with the board.

(h) At all hearings, the attorney general of this state, or any other legal counsel that is employed, shall appear and represent the board.

(i) The decision of the board shall be made by vote in accordance with rules and regulations established under § 5-3.1-4.

(j) Any appeal from the decision of the board, by a person or persons adversely affected by the decision, shall be governed by § 42-35-15.

(k) On rendering a decision to: (1) revoke or suspend a certificate issued under the laws of this state, (2) revoke or suspend an authority as a public accountant issued under the prior laws of this state, (3) revoke, suspend, or refuse to renew a permit issued under the laws of this state, or (4) censure in writing, limit the scope of practice of, impose an administrative fine upon, or place on probation a licensee, the board shall examine its records to determine whether the licensee holds a certificate or a permit to practice in any other state. If the board determines that the licensee in fact holds a certificate or permit, the board shall immediately notify the board of accountancy of the other state by mail of its decision under this section, and shall include in the notice an indication as to whether or not the licensee has appealed that decision.

(l) The board may, in its discretion, order any licensee against whom proceedings have been initiated under § 5-3.1-12 or 5-3.1-13 to reimburse the board for any fees, expenses, and costs incurred by the board in connection with those proceedings, including attorneys' fees. Those fees shall be paid within thirty (30) days from the date they are assessed and may be reviewed in accordance with § 42-35-15.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1995, ch. 159, § 2; P.L. 2001, ch. 336, § 1.)