Engaging in Contracting Without a License
The lawyers at Hanlon Law spend a great deal of time reading and digesting criminal statutes. Criminal laws run the gamut from simple, one sentence laws to statutes that seem as long and complex as encyclopedias. No matter the length or complexity of the statute, it is important for your lawyer to fully understand the statute that you might be charged under in order to adequately defend you from criminal charges.
One of the most complex criminal statutes that is commonly charged in the State of Florida is that of engaging in unlicensed contracting. Like many things in this State, contracting work like carpentry, plumbing, HVAC and electrical work are all heavily regulated industries. Those who want to enter into those lines of work are required to go through strict licensing requirements before they can begin to work in those fields. The legislature of our state put these regulations in place in order to ensure that contractors working on people’s homes and businesses have the requisite knowledge and prerequisites to do the job safely, but often the licensing requirements are strict and expensive to obtain. Unfortunately, some people attempt to get around those requirements and attempt to do contracting work without a license. If you have been charged with operating as an unlicensed contractor, you could be facing stiff penalties and should consult and experienced St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyer right away.Elements of the Crime
Under Florida Statute 489.127(f), it is a crime to engage “engaging in the business or acting in the capacity of a contractor or advertising 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.” While the core of the crime seems relatively simple, the statute refers to a separate section that spells out all of the different types of contracting work that require licenses and certification to perform. The complexity of the statute has benefits and pitfalls. On one hand, the specificity of the law allows prosecutors to pinpoint exactly the conduct that you might have committed. On the other hand, the complexity of the statute may make it more difficult to prove your case and may present defenses that your lawyer can exploit on your behalf.
The section of the statute that defines contracting lays out seventeen different types of contractors that require licensing to avoid criminal charges: 1) general contractors; 2) building contractors; 3) residential contractors; 4) Sheet metal contractors; 5) roofing contractors; 6-8) Class A, B, and C air-conditioning contractors; 9) mechanical contractors; 10) commercial pool and spa contractors; 11) residential pool and spa contractors; 12) swimming pool servicing contractors; 13) plumbing contractors; 14) underground utility and excavation contractors; 15) solar contractors; 16) pollutant storage systems contractors and; 17) specialty contractors.
Although all of the above listed occupations are “contractors” under the law. Their actual duties, jobs, and responsibilities are wildly different. And each contractor operates under different rules and regulation. A pool and spa contractor obviously does not have to have the same certifications and licenses as a solar panel contractor. Because of the complexity of the law, it is important that you retain a St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney who is adept at interpreting the criminal statute and determining what the best defense for your case will be.
Defenses to the charge of unlicensed contracting can vary based on the facts of each case. Police and investigators can sometimes charge people who do not actually need to be licensed under the law simply because of the confusing and complex nature of the statute. The unlicensed contractor law also includes specified exceptions to the rule that you may fall under.Speak to the Lawyers at Hanlon Law Today
The lawyers at Hanlon Law provide personal service to develop effective defenses for their clients. Call us today for a consultation at 727.897.5413.