Defenses to Contracting Without a License
Florida requires contractors to be licensed by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation in order to legally perform specific types of construction related activities within the state. Contractors who fail to meet this requirement are subject to criminal prosecution and/or penalties.
In cases where a contractor has been accused of unlicensed contracting, experienced construction attorneys play a vital role in identifying potential defenses to the charge and also help to reduce associated penalties. There are various defenses that an experienced construction attorney in Lakeland, FL may use to contest a claim of unlicensed contracting in Florida. Three of the most common defenses that are available include evidentiary and factual defenses, technical defenses, and licensure requirements.
Evidentiary and Factual Defenses
When a contractor is charged with unlicensed contracting, disputes as to the actual representations that were made to the alleged victim will typically arise. If an unlicensed contractor is charged with engaging in the business of contracting or holding themselves as a licensed contractor, it must be proven that the contractor actually engaged in a “contracting” role. If strong evidence can be shown that the “contracting” was limited in scope, this can act as a complete defense to the charge.
Another key defense that is available to Lakeland construction attorneys for contesting unlicensed contracting charges can be quite technical in nature. Many prosecutors struggle with properly proving that the accused was in fact “unlicensed” or “unregistered” in accordance with Florida’s rules of evidence. If a construction attorney can raise strong evidentiary objections, the prosecution may find it difficult to prove every element of the offense.
While Florida law requires contractors to hold a license to perform specific construction related activities, not all contracting and construction work requires a license. There are a variety of exemptions provided under Chapter 489 that may serve as a complete defense to a charge of unlicensed contracting. If you are a contractor and have been charged with unlicensed contracting, your Lakeland construction attorney should look closely at the actual conduct that was engaged in and assess whether or not the conduct fell within the purview of licensing statute or regulation.
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