Florida Electrical Contractor Defense Attorney

Are you an electrical contractor who’s received an Administrative Complaint or citation from the Department of Business and Professional Regulations (DBPR)? Are you confused about what to do next and worried about the future of the electrician career you’ve worked so hard to build? In Florida, a complaint against an electrical contractor or other licensed professional can lead to severe consequences that include fines, restriction of services, remedial education, and – at the very worst – a suspension or revocation of a professional license.

Losing your electrical contractor license can take away your ability to earn a living and provide for your family. No matter how minor a complaint might seem at first, they must always be taken seriously and responded to effectively. If you’re an electrical contractor subject to a formal complaint, it’s normal to feel frustrated and upset. Just keep in mind, it’s critical that you take action and address the complaint or citation with experienced legal counsel as soon as possible.

What Does an Electrical Contractor Do?

An electrical contractor performs a variety of tasks, depending on the level of specialty. An electrician is a person who is trained and licensed to perform electrical work. An electrical contractor is either a person or a firm that completes specialized electrical construction work related to the installation, design, and maintenance of electrical systems. Florida Statute 489.505(12) describes this as:

“A person who conducts business in the electrical trade field and who has the experience, knowledge, and skill to install, repair, alter, add to, or design, in compliance with law, electrical wiring, fixtures, appliances, apparatus, raceways, conduit, or any part thereof, which generates, transmits, transforms, or utilizes electrical energy in any form, including the electrical installations and systems within plants and substations, all in compliance with applicable plans, specifications, codes, laws, and regulations.”

Electrical contractors are responsible for powering our world and ensuring electric systems work safely and effectively in an environmentally friendly manner.

Why is Having a Valid License Essential for Electrical Contractors?

Under Florida State law, an electrical contractor must have a valid professional license before performing any electrical contracting work. Having this license certifies that a contractor is trained and compliant with the applicable standards and regulations. If you’re an electrical contractor, having a valid license demonstrates to potential customers that you’re dependable and trustworthy, increasing the likelihood of being hired.

At The Umansky Law Firm, we’ve helped many electrical contractors and professionals fight complaints and the potential loss of their licenses.

If you’ve faced any of the following hurdles, we can help you:

  • You are facing a probable cause hearing, administrative hearing, or a board determination.
  • You are an electrical contractor whose reputation is being called into question.
  • A customer or competitor made a complaint against you.

Complaints against electrical contractors can jeopardize their license and livelihood. If you’re facing a complaint, do not delay seeking trusted legal defense.

Who Licenses Electrical Contractors in Florida?

To legally perform electrical work in the State of Florida, electrical contractors must be licensed by the Electrical Contractors’ Licensing Board. The Electrical Contractors’ Licensing Board, under the Florida DBPR, issues licenses while regulating electrical contractors who perform electrical services in Florida.

To qualify for the electrical contractor license endorsement license, the Board requires an applicant to satisfy one of the following requirements under Florida Statute Section 489.511:

  • At least three years of management experience in the trade within the last six years
  • At least four years of experience as a foreman, supervisor, or contractor in the trade within the past eight years.
  • At least six years of comprehensive training, technical education, or broad experience with electrical or alarm system installation or service within the past twelve years.
  • Three years as a licensed Electrical Professional Engineer

How Can an Electrical Contractor Face Disciplinary Actions in Florida?

A competitor or customer can enter a complaint against an electrical contractor. Reasons for doing so differ, but according to the DBPR, examples of issues that may warrant a Complaint include:

  • Took payment from a customer but did not finish the paid service
  • Failed to secure the proper permits for the project performed
  • Was negligent in the quality of workmanship or other electrical design that resulted in injury or damage

For the complaint to be legally satisfactory, it must include facts that demonstrate a violation.

What Does the Complainant Fill Out?

If someone wished to file a complaint, they would do so by contacting the DBPR and completing a Uniform Complaint Form. Also, a subsequent complaint should also be filed with the local government or municipal entity that issued the electrical contractor’s registered license.

What are Common Allegations Against Electrical Contractors?

An electrical contractor might receive allegations for various reasons. In news reports, the majority of complaints and subsequent legal claims relate to work that was paid for, but never performed.

As an electrical contractor, there are a variety of acts that constitute grounds for which disciplinary actions may be taken against you. They include:

  • Failure to report past criminal history to DBPR
  • Violating the electrical licensing or inspection laws
  • Mismanagement of funds
  • Abandonment of job
  • Thievery or fraud
  • Faulty electrical design
  • Neglectful inspection of electrical work
  • Neglectful preparation of site for electrical work
  • Carelessness ending in injury or property damage

What is the Complaint Process Like?

When an electrical contractor receives a complaint, the Electrical Contractors’ Licensing Board, an investigator with the DBPR, or a contracted law firm reviews it. The investigation consists of gathering enough information to decide whether the complaint can proceed to the next step.

Information gathered during an investigation often includes:

  • Interviewing complainants
  • Interviewing the subject of the complaint
  • Interviewing witnesses
  • Issuing subpoenas
  • Recording sworn statements
  • Gathering documented evidence
  • Readying reports

As a professional electrical contractor, it’s highly advised that you hire a knowledgeable and accomplished contractor defense attorney to help you develop a strong response to the investigation procedure. Often, an experienced lawyer can end the investigation process at its earliest stages, preventing you from withstanding further harm to your business or reputation.

The Probable Cause Panel Reviews the Complaint

If the investigation procures enough proof to move the allegation to the next step, the complaint will be reviewed by a Probable Cause Panel. That will typically involve members on the Electrical Contractors’ Licensing Board who review the documents and evidence tied to the complaint.

During this process, it’s vital that you have your defense attorney, and you do not attempt to handle the situation alone.

The panel review can result in three possible outcomes:

  • Finding “no probable cause”
  • Issuing a “letter of guidance”
  • Issuing a formal Administrative Complaint

A finding of “no probable cause” is a dismissal of the case, which means there was not enough evidence proving that you violated any rule or regulation. A “letter of guidance” is not a disciplinary action, but it’s issued when the panel finds that a minor violation did occur. The most severe outcome is when a formal Administrative Complaint is issued against you.

Process of the Administrative Complaint

An Administrative Complaint against you details the statements and evidence against you reviewed during the investigation, along with the specific laws or rules that you’re charged with violating. After consulting with your attorney, you can choose to attend either an Informal Hearing or Formal Hearing.

Informal Hearing

If you choose to proceed with an Informal Hearing, that means you do not wish to dispute any of the allegations against you, nor do you intend to bring any new evidence to light. Instead, you’re accepting the complaints, and you’ll face the Board again where they’ll make a final decision on what penalties will be imposed against you.

Formal Hearing

If you wish to dispute the allegations and facts found against you during the investigation, you proceed with a Formal Hearing. This hearing is before Florida’s Division of Administrative Hearings (DOAH) and presided over by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The ALJ hears the evidence from both sides and makes a final Recommended Order to the Board. The Board then makes a final decision concerning disciplinary actions.

You can appeal the decision by filing a petition for judicial review if your building contractor’s license is suspended or revoked. Your lawyer is your most valued ally when going through this process – always consult with them before making any decisions.

How Can a Professional License Defense Attorney Help?

At The Umansky Law Firm, our professional license defense team investigates every case in detail to learn the facts and how to proceed. In general, some complaints against electrical contractors can go to criminal court, and you can face criminal charges. Having an experienced criminal lawyer who handles professional license defense is paramount.

Our lawyers can help you in some of the following ways:

  • Review the complaint against you and develop a defense by securing evidence, documents, and witnesses that help you
  • Prevent you from incriminating yourself as you defend against the allegations
  • Defend against potential criminal charges that can arise from the complaint
  • Establish the motive or bias behind the person who made the complaint against you
  • Help you respond to the Probable Cause Investigation by securing documents, witnesses, and other methods to establish there is no probable cause for the complaint
  • Help to try and get the complaint dismissed by the Probable Cause Panel
  • Argue that a guidance letter is better than a prosecution
  • Mitigate any potential punishments the Board or Agency may want to take
  • Present evidence, witnesses, and cross-examine State’s witnesses at a formal review hearing
  • Help challenge the findings at an informal review hearing
  • Appeal the hearing

Trusted Electrical Contractor Defense Lawyers in Orlando

If you have been accused of committing an act that may prompt the State to revoke your license or suspend your business activities, call The Umansky Law Firm to defend you. As knowledgeable trial lawyers, we understand the evidence code and can help prepare a defense for you that may include dismissal of the citation, complaint, or allegation against you.

The Umansky Law Firm attorneys include former prosecutors and defense lawyers, and some have experience working directly for the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. That experience, coupled with our criminal defense background, allows us to build a robust defense for you in the administrative action and help you avoid license suspension and criminal prosecution. To speak with an administrative lawyer today, complete an online contact form or call today at (407) 228-3838.