2016 Colorado Revised Statutes
Title 12 - Professions and Occupations
General - Continued
Article 58.5 - Private Investigators
§ 12-58.5-109. Disciplinary actions - grounds for discipline - rules - cease-and-desist orders
(1) The director may deny, suspend, or revoke a license, place an applicant or licensee on probation, or issue a letter of admonition to an applicant or licensee if the applicant or licensee:
(a) Violates any order of the director, any provision of this article, or any rule adopted under this article;
(b) Fails to meet the requirements of section 12-58.5-106 or uses fraud, misrepresentation, or deceit in applying for or attempting to apply for a license;
(c) Is convicted of or has entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to a felony; to an offense, the underlying factual basis of which has been found by the court to involve unlawful sexual behavior, domestic violence, as defined in section 18-6-800.3 (1), C.R.S., or stalking, as defined in section 18-3-602, C.R.S.; or to violation of a protection order, as defined in section 18-6-803.5, C.R.S. In considering the disciplinary action, the director is governed by section 24-5-101, C.R.S., in considering the conviction or plea.
(d) Has failed to report to the director the conviction of or plea to a crime specified in paragraph (c) of this subsection (1);
(e) Advertises or presents himself or herself as a licensed private investigator without holding an active license;
(f) Has been subject to discipline related to the practice of private investigations in another jurisdiction. Evidence of disciplinary action in another jurisdiction is prima facie evidence for denial of a license or other disciplinary action if the violation would be grounds for disciplinary action in this state.
(g) Commits an act or omission that fails to meet generally accepted standards of the practice of private investigations; or
(h) Fails to comply with surety bond requirements as specified in section 12-58.5-107.
(2) The director may adopt rules establishing fines that he or she may impose on a licensee. The rules must include a graduated fine structure, with a maximum allowable fine of not more than three thousand dollars per violation. The director shall transmit any fines he or she collects from a licensee to the state treasurer for deposit in the general fund.
(3) The director need not find that the actions that are grounds for discipline were willful but may consider whether the actions were willful when determining the nature of disciplinary sanctions to impose.
(4) (a) The director may commence a proceeding to discipline a licensee when the director has reasonable grounds to believe that the licensee has committed an act or omission specified in this section.
(b) In any proceeding held under this section, the director may accept as evidence of grounds for disciplinary action any disciplinary action taken against a licensee in another jurisdiction if the violation that prompted the disciplinary action in the other jurisdiction would be grounds for disciplinary action under this article.
(5) The director shall conduct disciplinary proceedings in accordance with article 4 of title 24, C.R.S. The director or an administrative law judge appointed by the director pursuant to paragraph (c) of subsection (6) of this section shall conduct the hearing and opportunity for review pursuant to that article. The director may exercise all powers and duties conferred by this article during the disciplinary proceedings.
(6) (a) The director may request that the attorney general seek an injunction in any court of competent jurisdiction to enjoin a person from committing an act prohibited by this article. When seeking an injunction under this paragraph (a), the attorney general is not required to allege or prove the inadequacy of any remedy at law or that substantial or irreparable damage is likely to result from a continued violation of this article.
(b) (I) The director may investigate, hold hearings, and gather evidence in all matters related to the exercise and performance of the powers and duties of the director.
(II) In any hearing or investigation instituted pursuant to this section, the director or an administrative law judge appointed pursuant to paragraph (c) of this subsection (6) may administer oaths, take affirmations of witnesses, and issue subpoenas compelling the attendance of witnesses and the production of all relevant records, papers, books, documentary evidence, and materials in any hearing, investigation, accusation, or other matter before the director or an administrative law judge.
(III) Upon failure of any witness or licensee to comply with a subpoena or process, the district court of the county in which the subpoenaed person or licensee resides or conducts business, upon application by the director with notice to the subpoenaed person or licensee, may issue to the person or licensee an order requiring the person or licensee to appear before the director; to produce the relevant papers, books, records, documentary evidence, or materials if so ordered; or to give evidence touching the matter under investigation or in question. If the person or licensee fails to obey the order of the court, the court may hold the person or licensee in contempt of court.
(c) The director may appoint an administrative law judge pursuant to part 10 of article 30 of title 24, C.R.S., to conduct hearings, take evidence, make findings, and report the findings to the director.
(7) (a) The director, the director's staff, a person acting as a witness or consultant to the director, a witness testifying in a proceeding authorized under this article, or a person who lodges a complaint pursuant to this article is immune from liability in a civil action brought against him or her for acts occurring while acting in his or her capacity as director, staff, consultant, or witness, respectively, if the individual was acting in good faith within the scope of his or her respective capacity, made a reasonable effort to obtain the facts of the matter as to which he or she acted, and acted in the reasonable belief that the action he or she took was warranted by the facts.
(b) A person participating, in good faith, in making a complaint or report or in an investigative or administrative proceeding pursuant to this section is immune from any civil or criminal liability that otherwise might result by reason of the participation.
(8) A final action of the director is subject to judicial review by the court of appeals pursuant to section 24-4-106 (11), C.R.S. The director may institute a judicial proceeding in accordance with section 24-4-106, C.R.S., to enforce an order of the director.
(9) When a complaint or an investigation discloses an instance of misconduct that, in the opinion of the director, warrants formal action, the director shall not resolve the complaint by a deferred settlement, action, judgment, or prosecution.
(10) (a) If it appears to the director, based upon credible evidence as presented in a written complaint, that a licensee is acting in a manner that is an imminent threat to the health and safety of the public, or if a person is conducting private investigations or presenting himself or herself as or is using the title "private investigator", "private detective", or "licensed private investigator" without having obtained a license, the director may issue an order to cease and desist the activity. The director shall set forth in the order the statutes and rules alleged to have been violated, the facts alleged to have constituted the violation, and the requirement that all unlawful acts or unlicensed practices immediately cease.
(b) Within ten days after service of the order to cease and desist pursuant to paragraph (a) of this subsection (10), the respondent may request a hearing on the question of whether acts or practices in violation of this article have occurred. The director or administrative law judge, as applicable, shall conduct the hearing pursuant to sections 24-4-104 and 24-4-105, C.R.S.
(11) (a) If it appears to the director, based upon credible evidence as presented in a written complaint, that a person has violated any other portion of this article, in addition to any specific powers granted pursuant to this article, the director may issue to the person an order to show cause as to why the director should not issue a final order directing the person to cease and desist from the unlawful act or unlicensed practice.
(b) The director shall promptly notify the person against whom an order to show cause has been issued pursuant to paragraph (a) of this subsection (11) of the issuance of the order and shall include in the notice a copy of the order, the factual and legal basis for the order, and the date set by the director for a hearing on the order. The director may serve the notice on the person against whom the order has been issued by personal service, by first-class, postage-prepaid United States mail, or in another manner as may be practicable. Personal service or mailing of an order or document pursuant to this paragraph (b) constitutes notice of the order to the person.
(c) (I) The director shall hold the hearing on an order to show cause no sooner than ten and no later than forty-five calendar days after the date of transmission or service of the notification by the director as provided in paragraph (b) of this subsection (11). The director may continue the hearing by agreement of all parties based upon the complexity of the matter, number of parties to the matter, and legal issues presented in the matter, but in no event shall the director hold the hearing later than sixty calendar days after the date of transmission or service of the notification.
(II) If a person against whom an order to show cause has been issued pursuant to paragraph (a) of this subsection (11) does not appear at the hearing, the director may present evidence that notification was properly sent or served on the person pursuant to paragraph (b) of this subsection (11) and such other evidence related to the matter as the director deems appropriate. The director must issue the order within ten days after the director's determination related to reasonable attempts to notify the respondent, and the order becomes final as to that person by operation of law. The hearing must be conducted pursuant to sections 24-4-104 and 24-4-105, C.R.S.
(III) If the director reasonably finds that the person against whom the order to show cause was issued is acting or has acted without the required license or has or is about to engage in acts or practices constituting violations of this article, the director may issue a final cease-and-desist order directing the person to cease and desist from further unlawful acts or unlicensed practices.
(IV) The director shall provide notice, in the manner set forth in paragraph (b) of this subsection (11), of the final cease-and-desist order within ten calendar days after the hearing conducted pursuant to this paragraph (c) to each person against whom the final order has been issued. The final order issued pursuant to subparagraph (III) of this paragraph (c) is effective when issued and is a final order for purposes of judicial review.
(12) If it appears to the director, based upon credible evidence presented to the director, that a person has engaged or is about to engage in an act or practice constituting a violation of this article, a rule promulgated pursuant to this article, or an order issued pursuant to this article, or any other act or practice constituting grounds for administrative sanction pursuant to this article, the director may enter into a stipulation with the person.
(13) If a person fails to comply with a final cease-and-desist order or a stipulation, the director may request the attorney general or the district attorney for the judicial district in which the alleged violation exists to bring, and if so requested the attorney shall bring, suit for a temporary restraining order and for injunctive relief to prevent any further or continued violation of the final order.
(14) A person aggrieved by the final cease-and-desist order may seek judicial review of the director's determination or of the director's final order as provided in subsection (8) of this section.
(15) (a) When a complaint or investigation discloses an instance of misconduct that, in the opinion of the director, does not warrant formal action by the director but that should not be dismissed as being without merit, the director may issue and send the licensee a letter of admonition.
(b) When the director sends a letter of admonition to a licensee, the director shall advise the licensee that he or she has the right to request in writing, within twenty days after receipt of the letter, that formal disciplinary proceedings be initiated to adjudicate the propriety of the conduct upon which the letter of admonition is based.
(c) If the licensee timely requests adjudication, the director shall vacate the letter of admonition and process the matter by means of formal disciplinary proceedings.
(16) When a complaint or investigation discloses an instance of conduct that does not warrant formal action by the director and, in the opinion of the director, the complaint should be dismissed, but the director has noticed indications of possible errant conduct by the licensee that could lead to serious consequences if not corrected, the director may send the licensee a confidential letter of concern.
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