The Koger Building
Corner of 9th Street North & Gandy Blvd.
9721 Executive Center Drive North, Suite 120
St. Petersburg, FL 33702
Contracting Without a License in St. Petersburg / Clearwater
Chapter 489 of the Florida Statutes requires that persons who engage in the business of contracting be licensed, registered or certified for certain types of construction work. These include:
The Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board was created in 1973. The establishment of this Board resulted from a Special Act of the Legislature to regulate the Pinellas County construction industry. The PCCLB provides countywide certification and registration of contractors and countywide certification of journeyman. These include such additional Specialty Contracting designations as:
In 1992, Hurricane Andrew struck Florida and resulted in billions of dollars of damage and devastation. A large number of contractors were needed to reconstruct destroyed houses and buildings. Numerous property owners unknowingly employed unlicensed contractors to complete the repairs. However, many of these owners later complained that these workers implemented poor business practices and built substandard structures.
In response to the profuse complaints, the State took action to ensure compliance with contracting regulations by encouraging the Department of Business and Professional Regulations (DBPR) to be more aggressive in its efforts in catching unlicensed contractors. Therefore, the DBPR uses undercover agents to impersonate property owners who request bids from unlicensed contractors. After providing a bid and agreeing to do the work, the contractor can be arrested and prosecuted under Florida Statute Chapter 489, which regulates Construction Contracting.
Our local State Attorney’s Office maintains a special prosecution unit designed to investigate and bring criminal charges for consumer fraud. It is this specialized division that pursues prosecutions for unlicensed contracting offenses. Pinellas County local government actively encourages homeowners and consumers to make complaints against unlicensed contractors, regardless of the quality of the work. For example, see “Home Improvement Solicitation Tips” and “Consumer Advice for Avoiding Unlicensed Contractors.”
Attorneys Marc Pelletier and Tim Sullivan are former state prosecutors with offices in both St. Petersburg and Clearwater. These lawyers are well acquainted with the operation of the Consumer Fraud Division of the Pinellas County State Attorney’s Office. In their defense of persons charged with unlicensed contracting, they routinely interact with the prosecutors assigned to this special division.
Most violations of unlicensed contracting fall under the classification of first degree misdemeanor offenses. These are punishable up to one year in the Pinellas County Jail and up to a $1,000.00 fine. Learn more about the ramifications of being charged with a misdemeanor offense.
However, some offenders can be charged with a third degree felony with penalties that carry up to five years incarceration in state prison and a $5,000.00 fine. These felony offenses include:
We can carefully examine the facts and circumstances of your case to determine if a contracting license was legally required for the type of work you actually performed.
We can determine if your work falls under one of the exemptions that does not require licensure. For example, Florida Statute Section 489.103 provides a number of situations in which contractors are exempt from complying with the regulations set forth in Chapter 489. Some of these exceptions include:
In addition to examining the specific nature of the work performed, we can also seek to minimize the consequences and penalties associated with your charge:
We are St. Petersburg / Clearwater criminal defense attorneys experienced in helping persons charged with contracting without a license offenses. We invite you to meet with us so that we can discuss the individual facts and circumstances of your case. Together, we can tailor a strategy that is best focused on achieving the most desirable outcome.