How do I know if I was part of an unlicensed contracting sting operation?

Most of the time, law enforcement will arrest you on the scene after obtaining the necessary evidence to prove their case against you.   If you are charged with Unlicensed Contracting or Specialty Contracting, Theft, Failure to Obtain a Building Permit, Failure to Maintain Workman’s Comp Coverage, or Falsely Holding Oneself Out as a Contractor in the State of Florida, Contact Powers Sellers & Finkelstein, PLC for a criminal defense attorney experienced in Unlicensed Contracting and related charges.  We offer a free case evaluation.  We’ll even come to you if you or a loved one is in jail.  Call (727) 531-2926 now!

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Over the years, Florida has cracked down on unlicensed contracting crimes.  Are you wondering if you were part of an unlicensed contracting sting operation?  Since it is a criminal offense to act in the capacity of a contractor without a valid contractor’s license or to engage in contracting work Florida police have been conducting frequent sting operations in Pinellas County, Hillsborough County, and all over the state.   

Law enforcement officers in the Clearwater and Tampa Bay area have increased the number of undercover sting operations for “unlicensed” contractors. A number of these operations target a handyman who has no intention of breaking the law but gets trapped into agreeing to do work, which may violate the statute. 

Wondering if you were part of an unlicensed contracting sting operation?  Most of the time, law enforcement will arrest a you on the scene after obtaining the necessary evidence to prove their case. If that’s the case, it would be highly likely that you were part of a sting operation. If you’re not immediately arrested, you will not be aware of the pending case until you are arrested at a later date contacted by law enforcement.

Often, you will find that a code enforcement officer will issue a citation for performing an unlicensed contracting job, and you have ten days to respond.  Powers Sellers & Finkelstein, PLC has over 20 years of combined experience defending clients charged with all levels of unlicensed contracting crimes. Call us and get your questions answered in a free private consultation at (727) 531-2926 anytime, 24-7!

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When will I be arrested if I was part of a sting to catch unlicensed contracting workers?

As stated above, law enforcement usually will arrest you on the scene after obtaining the necessary evidence to prove their case against you. Another scenario that could possibly take place is one in which law enforcement issues probable cause for your arrest, or seeks a warrant. The officer may forward the information to the state attorney’s office to file a “direct information” in the case. In these latter situations, you may not be arrested for days, weeks, or months after the alleged criminal offense.

When should I hire an attorney if I think I was part of a unlicensed contracting construction fraud sting operation?

As soon as you’re arrested, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney here at Powers Sellers & Finkelstein.  We will begin working on your case to quickly begin preserving evidence that will assist in your defense.

Please note that even if you weren’t arrested on scene but believe you may be facing criminal charges for unlicensed contracting, contact us ASAP to get your defense intact.

What type of charge or charges am I facing if I performed unlicensed contracting work? 

The most common charge resulting from these unlicensed contracting sweeps is the misdemeanor charge of unlicensed contracting.  Another potential charge is the felony charge of failure to maintain worker’s compensation. Because the contact is initiated by law enforcement who seek to have the unlicensed subject perform work that requires a license, the work is not actually completed and that eliminates the potential for other charges such as theft-related offenses and those pertaining to permitting.

What is the potential sentence for an unlicensed contracting charge?

If you are convicted of a first-degree misdemeanor charge of Contracting without a license, a judge can impose up to one (1) year in jail, one (1) year of probation, or $1,000 in fines, in addition to any civil penalties imposed by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

If you have a prior contracting without a license conviction, a second offense could be filed as a third degrere felony.  In that case, a judge can impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Up to five (5) years in prison.
  • Up to five (5) years of probation.
  • Up to $5,000 in fines.

If you are charged with a criminal offense for unlicensed contracting, you want an experienced criminal defense lawyer to represent you at every phase of the case including arraignment, during any pre-trial motions to dismiss the charges altogether, or at trial, as you fight for a”not guilty” verdict.

We also represent clients who receive a “cease and desist” notice from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), along with an administrative complaint, the election of rights form, along with the proposed settlement agreement.

The Law Firm of Powers Sellers & Finkelstein, PLC has over 20 years of combined experience defending clients charged with all levels of unlicensed contracting crimes. All Criminal Charges are serious, and you need a skilled Criminal Defense Attorney on your side. Call us and get your questions answered in a free private consultation at (727) 531-2926 anytime, 24-7!

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Blog for Unlicensed Contracting, Licensing, and Business Crimes Attorneys in Clearwater 

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