Florida Statutes require that individuals who engage in contracting for certain types of construction related work to hold a valid Florida contractor’s license, registration or certification in order to legally perform work. Contracting without a license is considered to be a serious criminal offense that can, depending on the circumstances, result in a misdemeanor or felony conviction. If you have been charged with contracting without a license, it is highly recommended to consult with a Clearwater construction lawyer immediately. Some of the areas in the construction industry that require a professional license, registration or certification include:
- General Contractors
- Building or Residential Contractors
- Sheet Metal or Roofing Contractors
- Class A, B, or C Air Conditioning Contractors
- Mechanical Contractors
- Commercial or Residential Pool/Spa Contractors
- Swimming Pool/Spa Servicing Contractor
- Plumbing, Underground Utility and Excavation Contractors
- Solar or Pollutant Storage Systems Contractors
- Electrical or Alarm System Contractors
Individuals who perform work in certain areas of the construction industry, as described in Chapter 489 of the Florida Statutes are prohibited from:
(a) Falsely holding themselves out as a licensed, registered, or certified professional contractor;
(b) Impersonating a licensed, certified or registered professional contractor;
(c) Presenting as their own the license, certificate or registration of another contractor;
(d) Knowingly giving inaccurate or forged evidence to a member of the board or any persons affiliated with the board;
(e) Using or attempting to use a suspended or revoked license, certificate or registration;
(f) Engaging in the business of a contractor or falsely advertising themselves as a contractor without being duly licensed, registered or certified;
(g) Operating a business engaged in contracting after 60 days of terminating their only qualifying agent without having a replacement. Exceptions to this rule are provided in F.S. 489.119 and 489.1195;
(h) Commencing or performing work on a building without the proper building permits as required by part IV of chapter 553; or
(i) Disregarding or violating any municipal or county ordinance relating to unlicensed, uncertified or unregistered contractors.
In Florida, most unlicensed contracting offenses are charged as first degree misdemeanors, which are punishable up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine plus restitution and administrative fees. In other cases, offenders may be charged with a third degree felony, which is punishable up to five years imprisonment and a $5,000 fine plus restitution and administrative fees. Unlicensed contracting offenses that fall under the felony offense category include:
- Repeat unlicensed contracting offenses;
- Unlicensed contracting during a State of Emergency as declared by executive order; and
- Violations that involve pollutant storage systems.
Our Clearwater construction lawyers understand the effects that charges related to contracting without a license can have on contractors and construction businesses. There are multiple defenses as well as numerous exemptions to charges of contracting without a license.
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.