Denial of a Contractor License

Have you worked hard to become a contractor? Are you trying to get your license and received a statement of findings indicating that you are unqualified for a license or certificate because you lack good moral character? Perhaps you went to college and spent four years getting your degree in engineering, architecture, or building construction. Maybe you worked hard for many years and learned a trade and served an apprenticeship as a skilled worker. You could be a foreman or contractor who gave it your all to learn a new profession to get certified, and now you are being told you can’t pursue your dream because you lack moral character.

Don’t worry. Everyone deserves a second chance! Although you may have been denied, under Florida Statute 489.111, you have a legal right to a rehearing and an appeal. Oftentimes, the Board will allow you to explain why you deserve your license before issuing a denial. At The Umansky Law Firm, our licensing defense attorneys are experienced in fighting the denial of your contractor license so you can move forward in your contractor career.

Who Governs and Regulates Contractor Licenses in Florida?

Florida contractors are supervised by the Department of Business and Professional Regulations (DBPR). The DBPR oversees the licensing of more than 405,000 professionals in over 25 occupations throughout the state of Florida.

The Construction Industry Licensing Board (CILB) authorizes issuing of licenses to contractors in Florida based upon creditworthiness, competent, moral, and insurable. This Board meets regularly to deliberate applications for new licenses and review license denials, disciplinary cases, and complaints.

Why Would My Contractor License Be Denied?

A denial of your contractor’s license can result in long-lasting difficulty as you move forward in your career and personal life. While a misdemeanor or felony criminal conviction would be a reason for your application to be scrutinized, one wrong decision doesn’t automatically impose a denial of your license.

The Construction Industry Licensing Board (CILB) or the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) may deny your contractor license if they can prove that:

  • There is a substantial connection between the applicant’s lack of good moral character and the professional responsibilities of a certified contractor; and
  • The finding by the Construction Board of lack of good moral character is supported by clear and convincing evidence.

The key is to be direct, honest, and fully disclose your criminal history. Even if your criminal offense has been expunged or sealed, you must provide this information along with an explanation of the circumstances that led to a plea or conviction. While every situation is different, if you can sufficiently demonstrate that you’ve since rehabilitated from your criminal past, you may still qualify for your approved contractor license.

Contractor Violations According to Florida Law

Florida Statute Chapter 489 sets forth the violations of law that respective professional boards and agencies, like the CILB, may prosecute.

Violations under Florida Statute 489 include:

 

  1. Fraud, dishonest dealings, pretenses, false promises, or breach of trust in any business transaction
  2. Violating a legal duty by law or contract whether written, orally expressed, or implied in any real estate contract
  3. Crimes involving fraud, moral turpitude, or any corruption related to the practice of contracting
  4. Conspiring or colluding with any person engaged in any misconduct
  5. Acting as a contractor under any certificate or registration other than their own
  6. Committing mismanagement or misconduct of funds that causes financial harm to a customer
  7. Abandoning a construction project in which the contractor is engaged or under contract
  8. Crimes involving fraud, deceit, or any corruption related to the practice of contracting
  9. Committing incompetency, misconduct, or negligence in the practice of contracting
  10. Proceeding on any job without obtaining applicable local building department permits and inspections.
  11. Signing a statement concerning a project or contract falsely indicating that the work is bonded; falsely indicating that payment has been made for all subcontracted work, labor, and materials which results in a financial loss to the owner, purchaser, or contractor
  12. Failing to report past criminal history to the DBPR

What’s the Process for Appealing My Contractor License Denial?

If you’re denied your contracting license, you’ll receive an official Notice of Intent to Deny from the Construction Industry Licensing Board (CILB). It’s critical that you seek legal representation immediately if you’re issued a Notice of Intent to Deny your license. You have only 15 days to appeal to the denial and request an Administrative Hearing. If you fail to submit this notice after 15 days have passed, you may lose your contractor license indefinitely.

Before the Hearing, your attorney has the opportunity to negotiate with the CSLB’s attorneys and arrange a settlement. Many times, cases are resolved during this settlement process, so an Administrative Hearing is avoided. If the CSLB is unwilling to offer agreeable settlement terms, the case proceeds to a Hearing.

During this Hearing, both sides are allowed to present evidence, investigative and expert reports, and call witnesses. The Hearing is presided over by an administrative law judge (ALJ) who will make the final decision regarding the approval or denial of your contractor license after hearing all evidence and testimonies.

The ALJ has 30 days to prepare a Proposed Decision and submit it to the CSLB. The CSLB then has 100 days to either:

  • Adopt the ALJ’s Proposed Decision
  • Modify the Decision
  • Reject the Decision and write its own.

If the CSLB fails to respond within 100 days, the ALJ’s Proposed Decision will be final.

How a Contractor License Defense Attorney Can Help You

Hiring a contractor lawyer who handles these rehearing and appeals may be critical to you getting your certification. At The Umansky Law Firm, our license defense attorney can help you:

  • Ask for a rehearing or an appeal. A contractor license defense attorney can help you obtain witness statements, character affidavits, draft a good character statement, and establish good moral character through service to your family, employer, community, religion, and other charitable causes.
  • Prove there is no substantial connection between your character and the certification you are trying to obtain. For instance, you had a bar fight when you were younger, convicted of a criminal charge or a felony. What does that criminal charge have anything to do with you becoming a contractor? Maybe you had a drug problem or used to sell drugs for a living. Does that really mean you do not have the character ten years later to become a certified building contractor?
  • Prove to the Board that their finding of a good moral charter is not supported by clear and convincing evidence. An attorney can show the Board that the evidence they have against you is weak, insufficient, or simply does not meet their burden of proof.
  • Present evidence and argument on all issues involved, including conducting cross-examinations, submitting rebuttal evidence, submitting proposed findings of facts and orders, and filing exceptions to the Board’s recommended order.

Having a knowledgeable contractor license defense attorney with experience handling these rehearings and appeals may be vital to the approval of your contractor’s license.

Dedicated Contractor License Defense Attorneys in Orlando Can Help

Do not let the fears over past mistakes deter you from the contractor career that you’ve worked so hard for. There are numerous and lucrative opportunities in the contractor industry, and the contractor license defense attorneys at The Umansky Law Firm can help.

Our accomplished trial lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm have more than 100 years of combined experience to develop a strong defense for you that may lead to your license approval. Many of our attorneys include former defense lawyers, prosecutors, and those who have worked directly for the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR).

To discuss your case with an administrative lawyer today, schedule your free consultation by completing an online contact form or call our office at (407) 228-3838.