Florida Funeral Attendant License Defense Attorney

Are you a Florida funeral attendant who’s received a complaint from The Division of Funeral, Cemetery, and Consumer Services? If so, it’s important that you take the grievance filed against you seriously, no matter how minor it may seem. A complaint of this nature can harm your professional reputation and future career. Losing your Florida funeral attendant license can not only affect your livelihood but also lead to further penalties, fines, and suspensions.

At The Umansky Law Firm, our funeral attendant license attorneys understand how to construct a concrete defense against your allegations. We can help you protect the license you’ve worked so hard to obtain.

What Does a Funeral Attendant Do?

A funeral attendant is generally responsible for ensuring that every aspect of a funeral proceeds smoothly, from handling the arrangements for burials to operating the funeral service in accordance with the family’s wishes. There are a number of specific roles that a funeral attendant can be asked to perform, including removing and transporting the body, filing the death certificate, organizing the service and burial plans, placing the casket in the parlor or chapel prior to the service, arranging floral offerings or lights around the casket, and directing or escorting mourners.

There are a number of different types of funeral attendants that can be licensed in the state of Florida, including:

  • Embalmer apprentices
  • Embalmer interns
  • Funeral director interns
  • Funeral directors
  • Direct disposer
  • Monument establishment sales agent
  • Preneed sales agent

Florida Statute 497.372 defines the practice of funeral directing as:

“…selling or offering to sell funeral services; removal of human remains from the state, on an at-need basis; planning or arranging funeral services, embalming, cremation or other services relating to final disposition on an at-need basis; and directing, being in charge or apparent charge of, or supervising, any funeral service held in a funeral establishment, cemetery, or elsewhere.”

An embalmer, according to the Florida Statute, is defined as:

“…[someone] who provides initial direction and instruction regarding the preservation of a dead human body in its entirety or in part and who is physically present or on the premises of the funeral establishment or embalming facility at all times when performing the tasks, functions, and duties relating to embalming.”

Likewise, direct disposing is described as:

“…the cremation of human remains without preparation of the human remains by embalming and without any attendant services or rites such as funeral or graveside services or the making of arrangements for such final disposition.”

Why Is It Important for Funeral Attendants to Be Licensed?

A career in the funeral industry isn’t for the faint of heart, and it requires a high level of compassion and a sturdy composition. Licensure is important to ensure that a grieving family’s deceased loved one is in the hands of someone trained and highly skilled in the art of embalming, directing, and disposing. Funeral attendants must be sympathetic, highly poised, and exceptionally capable.

Who Licenses Funeral Attendants in Florida?

The Florida Department of Financial Services—under The Division of Funeral, Cemetery, and Consumer Services—is in charge of licensing. The rules for obtaining a license depends on your specific role, but always requires:

  • An application in writing that includes the applicant’s social security number, demographics, educational and personal background, work history, fingerprint scan, criminal history, and character references
  • A board investigation into the applicant’s background and history
  • A fee that can range anywhere from $250 to $722, depending on the role
  • A Bachelor’s Degree or Associate’s Degree in a related field, such as mortuary science
  • The completion of a two-hour Communicable Disease Course by an approved Florida Provider.

Can a Funeral Attendant Face Disciplinary Action in Florida?

A licensed Florida funeral attendant may be subject to a complaint that could result in disciplinary action, according to Florida Statute 497.152. The grounds for discipline include:

  • Committing fraud, deceit, negligence, incompetency, or misconduct
  • Working at a funeral home under one of the required positions without holding a license
  • Refusing to provide service to any person based on their race, color, creed, marital status, gender, or national origin
  • Committing a crime that relates to the practice
  • Knowingly concealing information relative to a violation
  • Using the name or title “funeral director,” “embalmer,” “direct disposer,” or otherwise if you do not hold a license for that particular role
  • Taking possession of or embalming a dead human body without having obtained written or oral permission from a legally authorized person
  • Failing to have the price of any casket offered for sale clearly marked on or in the casket, whether the casket is displayed at a funeral establishment or at any other location

The penalties for violating any such rules in accordance with Florida Statute 497.152 can include:

  • The permanent or temporary suspension of a license
  • Issuance of a written reprimand
  • Requiring that the licensee complete additional education or training as specified by the board
  • A fine of up to $5,000

How Are Complaints Filed in Florida?

Anyone who wishes to enter a complaint against a funeral attendant in Florida must download the form and physically mail it to The Division of Funeral, Cemetery, and Consumer Services in Tallahassee, Florida.

What Is the Complaint Process Against Florida Funeral Attendants?

When a Florida funeral attendant is the subject of a complaint, an investigation is opened by the Florida Department of Financial Services. The investigator must find sufficient evidence to decide whether the claim can proceed to the next step. This can include:

  • Interviews with the accuser, respondent, and witnesses
  • Recorded sworn statements
  • Documented evidence

As a licensed funeral attendant, it’s vital that you take the complaint filed against you seriously. You’re strongly advised to secure the services of a skilled and qualified professional license attorney as soon as possible to help you create a reply to the investigation. A lawyer will be able to help you build a strong defense that may include dismissal of the accusation formed against you.

The Probable Cause Panel Reviews the Complaint

If the investigation produces enough evidence to move the allegation to the next step, the complaint will be reviewed by a Probable Cause Panel, which assesses the evidence and documents associated with the complaint.

 

Throughout this process, it’s crucial that you don’t attempt to handle this case alone. An experienced and credible defense attorney may be able to help you avoid license suspension and criminal prosecution.

The panel review can lead to three possible results:

 

  • Finding no probable cause: a dismissal of the case
  • Issuing a letter of guidance: a determination that a minor violation did occur
  • Issuing a formal Administrative Complaint: the most severe outcome

If the panel concludes that there’s no probable cause, it means that there was not enough evidence proving that you violated any rules or regulations. The case will be dismissed. If a letter of guidance is issued, it was determined that there was a minor violation, but no disciplinary action will be taken. Nevertheless, your reputation is at stake. If a formal administrative complaint is declared, the process will continue with further administrative action.

What’s the Process of an Administrative Complaint?

A formal Administrative Complaint is the most severe outcome that can result from a review and describes the evidence and information against you found during the investigation, along with the specific laws or regulations that you’re accused of violating. The complaint has become public record, so even if it’s eventually dismissed, your reputation may be harmed. After consulting with your lawyer, you can decide whether you want to attend an Informal Hearing or Formal Hearing.

Informal Hearing

If you elect to proceed with an Informal Hearing, you don’t intend to debate any of the accusations against you, nor do you plan to disclose any new evidence. You will acknowledge the complaints and face the Florida Depart of Financial Services who will make a final decision on what penalties will be enforced against you.

Formal Hearing

If you wish to dispute the accusations and evidence against you during the investigation, you move forward with a Formal Hearing. This hearing is before Florida’s Division of Administrative Hearings (DOAH) and is chaired by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The ALJ will listen to the arguments from both parties and eventually make a final Recommended Order. The Florida Department of Financial Services will finally make a closing decision concerning the disciplinary actions you will face.

How Can a Professional License Defense Attorney Help?

At The Umansky Law Firm, our professional defense attorneys will fully investigate the facts of your case in order to compile a solid defense against the accuser. Having an expert criminal lawyer who has experience defending funeral attendants should be your top priority.

The attorneys at The Umansky Law Firm can help you by:

  • Reviewing the complaint filed against you and creating a solid defense by collecting evidence, documents, and witnesses that will help your case
  • Helping you to avoid implicating yourself during the investigation and review process
  • Dodging any criminal charges that might derive from the complaint
  • Determining the motive or bias of the complainant
  • Helping you counter the Probable Cause Investigation in an attempt to dismiss the case
  • Arguing for a letter of guidance rather than a formal Administrative Complaint
  • Evading any potential penalties from the Department of Financial Services
  • Presenting evidence and witnesses at a Formal Review hearing
  • Challenging the findings at an Informal Review hearing
  • Appealing the hearing

Trusted Funeral Attendant Licence Defense Lawyers in Florida

If you’re a funeral attendant who’s received a complaint from The Division of Funeral, Cemetery, and Consumer Services, consider contacting the experts at The Umansky Law Firm. We’re a group of skilled defense lawyers who will help fight for your rights. With over 100 years of combined legal experience, our team has the time and expertise to launch an investigation into your case and the circumstances leading up to the complaint.

Hiring a lawyer who has a history of defending funeral attendants in Florida is vital if you want to protect your livelihood and reputation. We’ll be by your side as we guide you through the entire criminal justice process. To speak with an administrative attorney about your Florida funeral attendant license, give us a call at (407) 228-3838 or complete an online contact form today!