Blake & Dorsten, P.A. is a criminal defense law firm whose attorneys represent people charged with unlicensed contracting as well as fraud and a wide range of other white collar crimes. These criminal offenses carry significant possible penalties and far-reaching consequences, both for the person charged and for his or her family. This is why it is vital to seek the advice and counsel of an experienced Tampa Bay white collar crime lawyer as soon as possible, even if you are suspected of a crime but have not yet been charged. We are former prosecutors who understand how judges and juries analyze the circumstances of these cases and who know how to build thorough, sophisticated defenses for each of our clients.Penalties for Unlicensed Contracting
Performing contracting work without a valid contractor’s license is a crime in Florida. Whether you promote yourself as a licensed contractor or simply perform construction or home improvement work without a proper license, you are facing significant criminal penalties. Those penalties vary based on the circumstances.
Unlicensed contracting is often charged as a first-degree misdemeanor. That crime carries penalties of up to one year in jail and $1,000 in fines. A person who has previously been convicted of the same crime, however, may be charged with a third-degree felony. That offense comes with up to five years behind bars and $5,000 in fines. Whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony, a person convicted of unlicensed contracting may also be ordered to pay restitution to the victim of the crime. This is a monetary penalty intended to compensate for the losses that the victim suffered because of the allegedly criminal act.
In addition to the criminal penalties, having even a minor conviction on your record can complicate and undermine your life. You may encounter difficulties with pursuing your desired career or entering a certain occupation, your reputation may sustain damage, and you may have trouble pursuing higher education. This makes it essential to fight the charges head-on rather than simply pleading guilty.Common Defenses
The good news for a person charged with unlicensed contracting is that the law offers a number of possible defenses. It is important to consult an experienced attorney to consider these defenses. You should remember that the burden is at all times on prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime with which you have been charged. This is a very high burden to meet, and it applies to each element of the crime.
Prosecutors need to actually show that you were not licensed at the time that you did the work or allegedly held yourself out as a licensed contractor. There are a number of exceptions to the license requirement, including for work on bridges, roads, highways, and railways. In addition, a judge or jury may in some cases need to decide whether the person charged acted in a way designed to make people think that he or she was a licensed contractor. This can be a subjective determination and is analyzed according to the specific circumstances in each case. A criminal defense lawyer often can help a defendant not only try to rebut the prosecution’s testimony but also present exculpatory testimony to make sure that their side of the story is heard.Talk to a Criminal Defense Lawyer in the Tampa Bay Region Today
At Blake & Dorsten, P.A., we understand the complicated legal issues that are often involved in unlicensed contracting and other white collar crime cases, such as embezzlement. Our firm has a strong track record of success in criminal cases. We are proud to stand beside clients in their times of need and help them keep their records clean or minimize the consequences of a conviction. We represent people throughout the Tampa Bay area, including in Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater. Call us at (727) 286-6141 or contact us online to make an appointment to discuss your case with an attorney.