If you have received a call from a DOPL investigator, the investigation is already fully underway and you are the last target.
Having an attorney on your side throughout the DOPL investigation phase is critical to the best outcomes.
FREE ADVICE: Don’t interview alone without an attorney. Don’t interview unprepared. Attorney Jake Gunter has watched and attended so many police and investigation interviews he can’t count them. Most without an attorney fail.
The decision to interview or not interview is critical and having an attorney who has helped people make that decision hundreds of times is critical. Having an experienced captain really helps you understand the full process.
DOPL professional license investigations are often led by experienced retired police officers from around the country. DOPL investigators only do professional licensing defense and get experienced at it. You should have an experienced attorney in your corner also.
The normal path of a DOPL investigation is as follows:
(1). DOPL Referral. This can be a disgruntled former client telling DOPL that you violated the professional rules of conduct or a co-worker. Or this can be a self-referral for criminal charges or convictions.
All referrals from the public, former clients or co-workers are lodged for future consideration and pattern of behavior analysis. Ultimately a supervisor makes one of three decisions concerning the referral:
No Violation: The complaint does not involve a violation. The complaint is closed, no action is taken, and the complaint remains private.
Violation Does Not Meet Criteria for an Investigation: DOPL is legally unable to investigate or act on a complaint due to lack of jurisdiction or authority. DOPL may refer the complaint to another local, state, or federal agency for further review.
Violation Does Meet Criteria for Investigations: Complaint is within DOPL’s jurisdiction and will be prioritized and assigned to an investigator. See DOPL investigations page.
(2). Interviews. The main complaining witness is interviewed if the case proceeds to a formal investigation.
The referent is interviewed normally first, followed by other main witnesses. The last person to be interviewed is the investigation target—you. The DOPL investigator will enter your interview well-armed with information, possible investigative subpoena returns and witness statements.
(3). Investigative Subpoenas. DOPL has the right to issue investigative subpoenas to review documents from third parties to determine misconduct. Banks, businesses and your employer are all fair game for a subpoena duces tecum to produce documents.
(4). Informal Discipline versus Formal Discipline. The more egregious the violation the more need for a formal adjudicative proceeding.
Informal discipline can be verbal warnings, letters of concern or citations. Citations can be challenged or accepted in front of Department of Commerce Administrative Law Judge.
Formal discipline is conducted through a “Notice of Agency Action” letter indicating DOPL’s intention to suspend, revoke or place your license on probation. You have a right to a board hearing and an Administrative Law Judge.
All forms of discipline you can attempt to negotiate and form stipulated agreements to resolve the matter. Attorney Jake Gunter helps you form agreements and resolve the disputes.
20 Years as a Lawyer. He has been trying juries and defending the accused at police interviews and investigations for 20 years. You want a trail lawyer on your side if you are facing any judicial tribunal or jury. Experience matters, and you don’t want a generalist doing bankruptcy law, some divorce and then your investigation on your side. He has practiced law in federal, Utah, Michigan and military tribunals.
Military Investigations. LTC Jake Gunter has been heading off military investigations for his 16 years as a US Army Judge Advocate General. He has dealt with investigations on active duty, National Guard and US Army Reserves. Currently as of 2024 he is the lead public defender and commander of the 653 Trial Defense Services leading the defense of National Guard Soldiers accused of misconduct in Idaho, Montana and Utah. He has personally handled 15-6 investigations, Office of Complex Investigations (“OCI”), Inspector General investigations and courts-martial.
Utah Criminal Law. Commonly Jake intervenes on behalf of the accused in Utah criminal investigations. He attends police interviews and defends the criminal investigation to the best result. Having trusted and experienced advice when making the decision to interview or not interview is critical. Sometime interviewing can make the difference and ward off charges. Doing an interview unprepared and without counsel is disastrous.