(a) In addition to any other powers and functions which may be conferred upon it by law, the board may issue an order assessing a civil penalty not less than five hundred dollars ($500) and not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000) against any person who holds himself or herself out to the public as a licensed professional counselor or associate licensed counselor or who uses any title or description as prescribed in subdivisions (1) and (4) of Section 34-8A-2, or who shall engage in the private practice of counseling and does not then possess in full force and virtue a valid license to engage in private practice as a licensed professional counselor or associate licensed counselor under this chapter.
(b) In determining the amount of any penalty, the board shall consider the seriousness of the violation, including any threat to the health, safety, or welfare of the public, the unlawful gain or economic benefit gained by the violation, the person's history of previous violations, and the person's efforts to mitigate and comply with this chapter.
(c) Civil penalties assessed in an order under this section and not paid within 60 days from the effective date of the order may be recovered in a civil action brought by the board in the Circuit Court of Montgomery County or the county in which the defendant does business.
(d) Judicial review of an order entered by the board under this section shall be conducted in accordance with the pertinent provisions for the judicial review of contested cases as provided under the Alabama Administrative Procedure Act.
(e) The board shall exercise its jurisdiction for disciplinary oversight of licensees during the period of their licensure. The board shall not accept voluntary surrender of a license on the part of a licensee to avoid possible disciplinary actions by the board. Securing inactive status of a license shall not negate jurisdiction of the board for a licensee's actions during any period of active licensure. If a former licensee or a licensee with inactive status is found to be in violation of the relevant state law or regulations, a public announcement of the decision of the board shall be proffered in a manner to be determined by the board.
(f) The Attorney General shall be the attorney of the board, but the board may employ other counsel.
Last modified: May 3, 2021