Working as an unlicensed contractor in the State of Florida can destroy your career in the construction industry. If convicted, an unlicensed contractor will face imprisonment, fines, or both. As St. Petersburg construction attorneys, we know that there are many components under the Florida Statutes Section 489.127 that considered a contractor unlicensed:
- Giving false or forged evidence to the board or a board member, knowingly
- Present the certificate or registration of another contractor as your own
- Falsely holding him/herself or a business organization out as a licensee, certificate holder, or registrant
- Falsely impersonating a registrant or certificate holder
- 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
- Willfully or deliberately disregard or violate any municipal or county ordinance relating to uncertified or unregistered contractors
- 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
- Use or attempt to use a certificate or registration that has been suspended or revoked
- 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
As St. Petersburg construction lawyers, we know that if prosecutors can prove that at least one of these violations happened while under contract, unlicensed contractors can be convicted.
What Are the Defenses Against Unlicensed Contracting?
There are a few defenses that are available for those facing charges of unlicensed contracting.
A technical defense can be used in the event that an inexperienced prosecutor is unaware of how to prove that the defendant was “unlicensed”. Actually proving that there was a lack of certification or licensure can be a challenge for some inexperienced prosecutors.
Factual and Evidentiary Defenses
An example of a factual problem is if the defendant is charged with falsely representing themselves as a licensed contractor. This could result in a dispute over what representations were actually made to the alleged victim from the defendant.
Another example of an evidentiary and factual problem is if the defendant has been charged with engaging in the business of contracting. In this case, the prosecution has to prove that the defendant actually worked in a contracting/contractor role during the work.
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.