Defending Against Unlicensed Contracting Claims
Under Florida law, working as an unlicensed contractor can have damaging repercussions. A conviction in an unlicensed contractor case can lead to imprisonment and/or fines. This offense can refer to numerous actions related to the construction industry. Under the Florida Statutes, Section 489.127, no person shall:
(a) Falsely hold himself or herself or a business organization out as a licensee, certificate holder, or registrant;
(b) Falsely impersonate a certificate holder or registrant;
(c) Present as his or her own the certificate or registration of another;
(d) Knowingly give false or forged evidence to the board or a member thereof;
(e) Use or attempt to use a certificate or registration that has been suspended or revoked;
(f) Engage in the business or act in the capacity of a contractor or advertise himself or herself or a business organization as available to engage in the business or act in the capacity of a contractor without being duly registered or certified;
(g) Operate a business organization engaged in contracting after 60 days following the termination of its only qualifying agent without designating another primary qualifying agent, except as provided in ss. 489.119 and 489.1195;
(h) Commence or perform work for which a building permit is required pursuant to part IV of chapter 553 without such building permit being in effect; or
(i) Willfully or deliberately disregard or violate any municipal or county ordinance relating to uncertified or unregistered contractors.
In order to obtain a conviction, the prosecution must prove at least one of these nine violations occurred during the course of the contract.
Defenses Against Unlicensed Contracting
Tampa construction law firms have multiple defenses available to dispute a charge of unlicensed contracting. The most common of these defenses include:
Factual and Evidentiary Defenses
A factual problem arises for the prosecution if the defendant is charged with falsely representing himself as a licensed professional or registrant. This instance results in a dispute over what representations the defendant made to the alleged victim.
Another evidentiary and factual problem occurs if the defendant is charged with engaging in the business of contracting or acting in the capacity of a contractor without a license. In this instance, the prosecution must prove that the defendant was operating in a “contracting” role during the work.
A technical defense occurs often because many inexperienced prosecutors do not know how to prove that the defendant was actually “unlicensed” or “unregistered.”
It may sound simple, but the task of proving a lack of licensure or certification can be a challenge for many inexperienced prosecutors. The State can be prevented from proving every element of the offense if the defense can raise the proper evidentiary objections.
Importance of Representation
Having the advice of an unlicensed contracting defense lawyer will be valuable to any defendant who is facing these allegations. Construction law firms in Tampa are able to assist persons who may be in need of more information or representation. Contact a Tampa construction law firm today to get direct advice regarding any potential suit.
To schedule a consultation with one of our licensed contractor attorneys, please call us today.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.