Florida Land Surveyor License Defense Attorney

Are you a land surveyor who has received an Administrative Complaint or citation from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services? You may be wondering how you can avoid harming your professional career and reputation. Indeed, it’s important that you take the allegations against you seriously and consider seeking legal counsel as soon as possible. Losing your land surveyor license can not only take away your ability to earn a living but also result in a fine of up to $1,000 and a jail term of up to one year.

No matter how minor the complaint may seem at first, it’s important to respond quickly and effectively. An experienced and trusted land surveyor defense attorney can help you navigate the Florida legal system and potentially close the investigation before it becomes public record.

What Does a Land Surveyor Do?

A land surveyor takes exact measurements to identify land boundaries. They also prepare reports, maps, and plots that are used for construction, deeds, or other legal documents. Land surveyors are helpful to the public because they outline private property lines, determine construction locations for roads and buildings, provide records of accident scenes, and create land maps. They may also participate in legal matters when there’s a dispute over where boundaries fall. The precise duties of a land surveyor can include:

  • Investigating the property to determine what factors will play into how it will be assessed and measured
  • Researching an area to establish its history and record
  • Working with sophisticated field equipment such as a high-order GPS and an aerial or terrestrial scanner
  • Using complex software to draft plans and map measurements

Florida Statute 472.005 defines a land surveyor as:

“…a person who determines and displays the facts of size, shape, topography, tidal datum planes, legal or geodetic location or relation, and orientation of improved or unimproved real property through direct measurement or from certifiable measurement through accepted photogrammetric procedures.”

A land surveyor is much more than a person in an orange vest holding a tripod. They usually have a range of expertise, from high tech equipment and software to mathematics and law.

Why Is It Important for Land Surveyors to Be Licensed?

Land surveying is a difficult and demanding job. It requires years of training to perfect and expertise with technology and mathematics. Likewise, because land surveying mistakes can be detrimental in the case of a dispute over property lines, licensure ensures that individuals are fully prepared for this type of work.

In the state of Florida, you can attain a land surveyor license either by examination or endorsement. If you choose to be licensed by examination, you’re required to take the Fundamentals of Surveying exam, the Principles and Practice of Surveying exam, and the Florida Jurisdictional exam. Likewise, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services must determine that you’re of good moral character and have a Bachelor’s Degree in a relevant field. If you choose to be licensed by endorsement, you must take the Florida Jurisdictional Examination and hold a valid license to practice surveying and mapping, issued prior to July 1, 1999.

Who Licenses Land Surveyors in Florida?

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services handles all licensing. To apply for or renew your license, fill out the form and complete the appropriate testing requirements. Testing fees—which range from $155 to $405—are paid directly to the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying after Florida board approval.

Can a Land Surveyor Face Disciplinary Action in Florida?

In the state of Florida, a land surveyor can face disciplinary action if they violate the protocols defined in Statute 472.0351, which include:

  • Practicing surveying or mapping without a valid license
  • Impersonating a licensed land surveyor
  • Knowingly giving false or forged evidence
  • Using a revoked or suspended license
  • Being convicted of a crime that directly relates to the practice of land surveying
  • Advertising fraudulent land surveying content

The penalty for any such violation can include:

  • A revoked or suspended a license
  • Issuance of a reprimand
  • Probation
  • Fines of up to $1,000
  • A jail term of up to one year

Penalties against land surveyors can be serious, so it’s important that you contact a credible defense attorney if you’ve received any kind of complaint.

How Are Complaints Filed in Florida?

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services processes all complainants. Plaintiffs must fill out a form and list the person or business that they’re addressing and any witness information available. The complaint can be filed anonymously.

What Is the Complaint Process Against Florida Land Surveyors?

After the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services received the complaint, it’s reviewed by an instigator who will further assess the case. The investigation involves collecting information that will determine whether the complaint has adequate legal grounds to proceed.

Information collected during an investigation can include:

  • Interviewing the complainant, the subject of the complaint, and witnesses
  • Issuing subpoenas
  • Recording sworn statements
  • Collecting documented evidence
  • Readying reports

It’s so important to act quickly after receiving a complaint of this nature. Ignoring it completely can only harm you in the long run. A credible attorney will be able to assess your case and build you a strong defense. They may even be able to dismiss the case completely before it goes to review, which would shield you from further reputational and professional harm.

The Probable Cause Panel Reviews the Complaint

If the investigation secures enough proof to move the allegation to the next step, the complaint will be reviewed by a Probable Cause Panel. They will consider both the gathered evidence and the rules or regulations that have been violated.

It’s essential that you pursue legal assistance from a trusted defense law attorney and not attempt to manage the case alone.

The panel review may 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 of outcomes

 

If it’s determined that there was no probable cause, your case will be dismissed. If you’re issued a letter of guidance, you won’t face any discipline, but your reputation may be affected. If you’re issued a formal Administrative Complaint, the process will proceed to the next step.

What’s the Process of an Administrative Complaint?

A formal Administrative Complaint is the most serious outcome that can result from a review. At this point, your case has become public record and your professional status with your colleagues is at stake, even if you’re cleared of all charges. The complaint will specify the rules or regulations that you’re accused of breaking as well as the evidence that was collected during the investigation. At this stage, you have to decide if you want to proceed with a Formal Hearing or an Informal Hearing. An expert defense attorney will best be able to help determine what path is most strategic.

Informal Hearing

At an Informal Hearing, you will accept the allegations formed against you without contending or presenting new evidence. Following an Informal Hearing, you will face the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which will make a final decision regarding the penalties that will be prescribed against you.

Formal Hearing

A Formal Hearing, on the other hand, will allow you to dispute the allegations against you. You can present new evidence and debate the facts of the case or investigation. 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. Finally, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will make a conclusive 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 look into the specifics of your case in order to form a rock-solid defense against the allegations brought against you. Our firm has experience defending land surveyors and will be able to help fight for your rights. Acquiring a top-notch lawyer who knows Florida criminal defense law should be of the utmost importance.

Our attorneys can assist you by:

  • Assessing and documenting the specifics of your case
  • Constructing a concrete defense by gathering evidence, documents, and witnesses
  • Helping you avoid implicating yourself during the investigation and review process
  • Sidestepping any criminal charges that might spring from the complaint
  • Determining the potential bias or prejudice of the person who made the complaint against you
  • Helping you argue against the Probable Cause Panel so you can dismiss the case
  • Reasoning that a guidance letter is more appropriate than prosecution
  • Bypassing any potential penalties from the Department
  • Organizing and delivering new evidence and witnesses at a Formal Review Hearing
  • Challenging the findings at an Informal Review Hearing
  • Appealing the hearing

Trusted Land Surveyor License Defense Lawyers in Florida

If you’re a land surveyor who’s received a complaint from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, you need to act now. The professional attorneys at The Umansky Law Firm can help. We’re a group of trusted lawyers with over 100 years of combined legal experience. We know the ins and outs of license defense law and can help fight for your rights.

After fully investigating the facts of your case, we’ll build a defense against the complainant and potentially get your case dismissed before it becomes public record. If you want to maintain your reputation and career, contact us today. To speak with an administrative attorney about your land surveyor license, give us a call at (407) 228-3838 or complete our online contact form.