Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) is in place to protect consumers and ensure that contractors are in compliance with the Florida Statutes. Whether it’s contracting without a license altogether or licensed contractors violating legal expectations such as performing work without a permit or endangering the public, as contractor license defense lawyers in Clearwater, we can attest that penalties for license violations can be harsh. Investigations from the agency can result from sting operations, complaints filed against your business, perceivable violations, or standard site assessments. Because of the legal, financial, and long-term business ramifications that can occur if charges are not negotiated or eliminated, it is highly recommend to speak with a Clearwater construction license defense attorney immediately after receiving notification of a violation.
Official charges are handed down through an Administrative Complaint, which will identify the details of the investigation and specific laws that were allegedly violated. You then must decide whether an informal or formal hearing with the Division of Administrative Hearings will be most beneficial.
Informal Versus Formal Hearings
The primary difference between an informal and formal hearing is the type of evidence and testimony that may be presented before either the Informal Hearing Officer or the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
The Informal Hearing provides you and your Clearwater contractor license defense lawyer the opportunity to explain why the charges of contracting without a license or a license violation are invalid based on the established facts. Testimony and documentary evidence may be presented, but no new facts may be introduced. The Informal Hearing Officer assigned to your case will listen to the arguments and review the evidence presented and determine a Recommended Order. From this recommendation, a Final Order or decision for the case will be determined within 90 days of the hearing.
A Formal Hearing, on the contrary, allows you to dispute the facts involved with the violation. The same process follows as with the Informal Hearing and the ALJ will determine a Recommended Order that outlines if and which criminal charges, fines, and changes to the status of your license, will be assessed. If a desired outcome is not reached in either hearing, you or your construction license defense lawyer in Clearwater can file for a judicial review and plan to appeal the decision.
If you are faced with an Administrative Complaint from the DBPR and don’t know what the best decision is for you or your company, trust Trent Cotney and his knowledgeable team of construction license defense attorneys in Clearwater.
To speak with one of our qualified construction attorneys in Clearwater, please contact our office at 813.579.3278 or submit our contact request form.
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.