Florida Painting Contractors Defense Attorney

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

A loss of your painting contractor license can limit your ability to provide for yourself and your family comfortably. No matter how trivial a complaint might seem, they must always be taken seriously and responded to effectively. If you’re a painting contractor subject to an Administrative Complaint, it’s perfectly normal to feel worried and upset. However, you must remember that your career depends on you taking prompt action and addressing the complaint or citation with trusted legal counsel.

What Responsibilities Do Painting Contractors Have?

Painting contractors in Florida work in the property maintenance sector. They are responsible for estimating the cost of a job, planning the tool and resources required to complete a job, and painting several layers to achieve a quality finish in various buildings. Painting contractors might work in residential apartments and houses or commercial properties like retail stores and offices. Some painting contractors are hired directly by property owners or work for real estate firms or property maintenance groups.

A painting contractor must acquire a license as a Contractor that’s defined under Florida Statute 489.105(3) as:

“The person who is qualified for, and is only responsible for, the project contracted for and means… the person who, for compensation, undertakes to, submits a bid to, or does himself or herself or by others construct, repair, alter, remodel, add to, demolish, subtract from, or improve any building or structure, including related improvements to real estate, for others or for resale to others…”

Why is Having a Valid License Necessary for Painting Contractors?

Painting contractors must have a valid license to practice this vocation anywhere in the State of Florida. Being a licensed painting contractor instills confidence in clients that you are skilled and experienced to provide quality service. Without a valid Florida painting contractor license, you can lose your means of earning a livelihood in your chosen career. In a profession that takes years to build, an unresolved complaint should not be the reason it ends.

Who Grants Licensure to Painting Contractors in Florida?

In Florida, licensed painting contractors are licensed by the Construction Industry Licensing Board (CILB) regulated by the Department of Business and Professional Regulations (DBPR). There is no specific license for professional painting work, however, a General Contractor License allows specialists to work as professional painters throughout Florida.

Before the CILB grants a General Contractor License, painting professionals must demonstrate their knowledge, skill, and expertise by passing a certification examination and establishing to have completed at least four years of working experience, satisfactory education, and the appropriate liability insurance coverage.

What Are Common Complaints Made Against Painting Contractors in Florida?

Licensed painting contractors in Florida may face disciplinary action from complaints related to numerous reasons. Often, customers file claims due to negligent or unlicensed services provided. Some of the most common complaints against painting contractors include:

  • Taking much longer than the estimated time to complete a job
  • Charging customers more than what was expected at the job’s close
  • Painting with a finish that chips, flakes, peels, or blisters
  • Providing incomplete, lengthy, or negligent services
  • Damaging foundation plantings, appliances, or fixtures
  • Using a finish that the customer did not request or want
  • Being convicted of a crime that relates to their profession

Often, complaints lodged against painting contractors are related to incomplete or negligent work, failing to complete a job, or unprofessional behavior. Any of these complaints can result in serious legal consequences. If you’re confronted with a complaint against your Florida painting contractor license, it’s vital that you partner with a professional license defense attorney as soon as possible.

How Does Someone File a Complaint?

Anyone who wants to file a complaint against a licensed Florida painting contractor would do so by contacting the DBPR and filling out a Uniform Complaint Form. The DBPR’s online service also enables the public to confirm that a professional’s license is valid. However, if it’s found that a person files a false complaint without any evidence or with ill intent to deceive an investigation, they could be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor.

What is the Complaint Process Like in Florida?

When a complaint is received against a painting contractor or any professional general contractor in Florida, it’s reviewed by the Construction Industry Licensing Board or an investigator with the DBPR. The investigation involves collecting enough information to decide whether the complaint can proceed to the next step.

Information collected during an investigation often comprises:

  • Interviewing complainants
  • Interviewing the subject of the complaint
  • Interviewing witnesses
  • Issuing subpoenas
  • Recording statements under oath
  • Gathering documented evidence
  • Preparing reports

As a professional painting contractor, it is highly suggested that you hire a knowledgeable and skilled attorney to help you develop a suitable response to the investigation procedure. Frequently, an experienced attorney can end the investigation process at its initial stage, preventing you from experiencing any additional harm to your reputation or business.

The Probable Cause Panel Assesses the Complaint

If the investigation acquires 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 CILB who review the documents and evidence related to the claim.

During this process, it’s essential that you have your defense attorney, and you do not attempt to manage 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 defines the statements and evidence found during the investigation, along with the specific laws or rules that you’re charged with violating. After consulting with your lawyer, you can choose to attend either an Informal Hearing or Formal Hearing.

Informal Hearing

If you decide 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 forth any new evidence. 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 choose 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 considers the evidence from both sides and makes a final Recommended Order to the Board. The Board then makes a final decision regarding disciplinary actions.

You can appeal the decision by filing a petition for judicial review if your painting contractor license is suspended or rescinded. Your attorney is your indispensable ally as you go 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 examines every case thoroughly to discover the facts and the best way to safeguard your professional license. In general, some complaints against painting contractors can go to criminal court, and you can face criminal charges. Having an experienced criminal lawyer who handles professional license defense is imperative.

Umansky lawyers can support you in a variety of ways, including:

  • Review the complaint against you and build a defense by securing evidence, documents, and witnesses that benefit you
  • Prevent you from incriminating yourself as you defend against the allegations
  • Defend against impending criminal charges that can arise from the complaint
  • Determine 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 penalties 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

Call Skilled Professional License Defense Attorneys in Orlando

If you have been accused of violating a rule or regulation that may cause the State of Florida to revoke your painting contractor license, call The Umansky Law Firm to advocate for you. As experienced trial attorneys, we understand the evidence code and help build a robust defense for you, which may include dismissal of the citation, complaint, or allegation against you.

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