Earlier this month, an unlicensed contractor in Prescott, Arizona, was ordered to pay nearly $70,000 in restitution for defrauding homeowners since 2016. After serving 728 days in jail, he was also sentenced to five years of intensive probation and 100 hours of community service as a result of pleading guilty to six counts of theft and advertising without a license. Investigations say the former Prescott resident has never been a licensed contractor in Arizona. State officials have since declared via his guilty-plea agreement that he cannot be involved in any business contracts related to contracting in any way in the future.
This comes not even a few months after more than two dozen unlicensed contractors were arrested in New Port Richey, Florida, during a sheriff’s office sting in Pasco County. All 27 of the individuals arrested were charged with misdemeanor unlicensed contracting, and another 20 face an additional charge of failure to carry workers’ compensation. While we understand that it may be tempting to pursue work without first securing your contractor’s license with the relevant board, contracting without a license is considered to be a serious offense with the potential to result in a misdemeanor or a felony conviction.
In this article, we’ll be discussing how you can win your contractor license defense case in the event that a complaint has been filed against your license or you have been accused of working as an unlicensed contractor. In the event that you are in need of more information regarding defending against these types of claims or legal representation, don’t hesitate to get in touch with an Indianapolis construction litigation attorney from Cotney Construction Law. They can provide direct advice regarding a potential suit to any defendant who is facing these allegations.
What Qualifies As Unlicensed Contracting?
Under state law, working as an unlicensed contractor can have incredibly damaging repercussions. Namely, a conviction in an unlicensed contractor case can lead to imprisonment and/or fines. This offense, however, actually refers to a number of actions within the construction industry, including but not limited to:
- Falsely holding yourself or your business as a licensee, certificate holder, or registrant
- Knowingly giving false or forged evidence to the board or a member of the board
- Presenting the certificate or registration of another as your own
- Falsely impersonating a certificate holder or registrant
- Advertising yourself or your business as available to act in the capacity of a contractor without being duly registered or certified
- Willfully or deliberately disregarding or violating any municipal or county ordinance related to uncertified or unregistered contractors
In order to obtain a conviction, the prosecution must demonstrate that at least one of these violations occurred during the course of the contract.
What Defenses Can You Employ Against a Charge of Unlicensed Contracting?
Fortunately, all hope is not lost for those contractors and subcontractors that have been accused of unlicensed contracting. Below, we go into just a few of the multiple defenses that an Indianapolis construction dispute lawyer has available to dispute a charge of unlicensed contracting.
Factual and Evidentiary Defenses
A factual problem occurs in the event that the defendant is charged with falsely representing himself as a licensed professional or registrant. This often results in a dispute over what representations were actually made by the defendant to the alleged victim. Another example of a common evidential and factual problem is when the defendant is charged with engaging in the business of contracting or acting in the capacity of a contractor without the proper registration or certificate. In this circumstance, the prosecution must demonstrate that the defendant actually worked in a contracting/contracting role during the work in order to reach a conviction.
A technical defense can be used in the event that an inexperienced prosecutor is unaware of how to prove that the defendant was actually unlicensed or unregistered. While it may sound simple at first glance, the task of proving a lack of licensure or certification can prove to be a challenge for many prosecutors. If the defense can raise the proper evidentiary objections, the state may be prevented from proving any element of the offense.
Why Do You Need a License Defense Lawyer?
If you have received a complaint against your license or been charged with contracting without a license, it’s highly recommended that you consult with an Indianapolis license defense lawyer as soon as possible. This is because either of these offenses can result in significant fines, imprisonment, and even the loss of your contractor’s license. Without a license, a contractor has few options to earn a living.
By getting in touch with a license defense lawyer, you’ll be taking a vital step towards defending your license and avoiding any potential fines and penalties. Not only will they guide you through the legal process with ease, but they will also be available to help you negotiate settlements at any time throughout your case to address these problems. All you need to worry about is choosing an attorney with experience in contractor license defense cases in order to give yourself the best chance of winning your case.
If you would like to speak with one of our Indianapolis construction lawyers, please contact us today.
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.