Florida Septic Tank Contractor Defense Attorney

Are you a licensed Septic Tank Contractor in Florida who’s received an Administrative Complaint from the Department of Health (DOH)? Are you worried about what steps to take next and whether this will affect your family and career? In Florida, complaints against licensed Septic Tank Contractors or any licensed professional can result in severe consequences that could include fines, a limitation of services, license suspension, or, worse, revocation of license.

Revocation of your Florida septic tank license can significantly limit your capacity to earn a comfortable living and take care of your loved ones. No matter how trivial the complaint may seem, do not delay acquiring knowledgeable legal representation so you can respond effectively and move forward in your career. If you’re a licensed Septic Tank Contractor confronting an Administrative Complaint, it’s perfectly normal to be anxious or worried. However, with an experienced professional license defense attorney’s counsel and advocacy defending your good name, you’ll have your best chance of resolving it without damaging your professional reputation.

What Does a Septic Tank Contractor Do?

A Septic Tank Contractor performs inspections on septic tank systems to check the water levels to ensure the tank is not overloaded or leaking. During a full inspection, the septic tank is pumped into a drainfield, so family homes or buildings don’t have sewage backups in the pipes. A Septic Tank Contractor will examine these pipes during the inspection to ensure there is no blockage preventing the water flow from the house or building to the septic tank.

According to Florida Statute 489.551(4), a Septic Tank Contractor means:

“A contractor who has the experience, knowledge, and skill to install, maintain, repair, alter, perform site evaluations for repairs, when determined to meet site-evaluation expertise established by rule, and use material and items used in the installation and maintenance of all kinds of onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems.”

Why Is Having a Valid Florida License Essential for Septic Tank Contractors?

Septic Tank Contractors must have a valid license to practice this profession in Florida. This license protects the general public from an unqualified contractor performing negligent septic or sewage treatments that could result in devastating health consequences for the Florida communicates. Having a valid Florida Septic Tank Contractor License demonstrates knowledge, experience, and expertise to maintain and repair sewage and septic systems.

Who Licenses Septic Tank Contractors in Florida?

The Florida Department of Health (DOH) is responsible for licensing Septic Tank Contractors. The DOH handles examinations as well as disciplinary actions against licensed contractors. To obtain a Florida septic tank license, applicants must demonstrate knowledge of septic system locations and installations, how to dispose of septage, site evaluation criteria, construction standards for drainfield systems, and more.

What Are Common Complaints a Septic/Sewer Inspector That Could Lead To in Disciplinary Action?

Licensed Septic Tank Contractors in Florida may face disciplinary action from complaints related to violations that pose a danger to the public. Claims must be viable allegations included under the Practice Acts or regulations of the Department of Health.

Violations that could result in disciplinary action include:

  • Conviction of a crime that relates to their profession
  • Using drugs or being impaired from drugs while working
  • Drug diversion
  • Sexual misconduct
  • Violation of standards of care
  • Defaulting on student loans

What Does the Complainant Fill Out?

The Florida Department of Health (DOH) performs investigative and prosecutorial tasks involving licensed Septic Tank Contractors. Should a customer, colleague, competitor, or anyone in the general public wish to file a complaint about any unlawful septic contracting against a contractor, they would do so through the Statewide Headquarters of the Onsite Sewage Program that’s regulated under the Florida DOH.

What Is the Complaint Process Like in Florida?

After a complaint is lodged against a Septic Tank Contractor, an investigator from the Prosecution Services Unite (PSU) sends an investigator to review the case. The investigation involves gathering enough information to determine whether the complaint can proceed to the next step.

Information gathered during an investigation generally includes:

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

Most times, the investigator will contact you to discuss the claim. As a professional Septic Tank Contractor, you must not disregard the complaint filed against you. Contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible before meeting with the investigator. Partnering with a Florida Septic Tank Contractor Defense Attorney will enable you to build a detailed and robust response to the investigation procedure.

A knowledgeable attorney may even end the inquiry process before further measures are started. At this point, the inquiry process is confidential, so your professional reputation won’t be further threatened.

The Probable Cause Panel Assesses the Complaint

If the investigation finds enough evidence to move the claim to the next step, the complaint will be reviewed by a Probable Cause Panel. That will typically involve two or three board members, often one or two licensed health care professionals, and a consumer member.

During this process, it’s essential that you have your defense lawyer and do not try to attempt to manage the situation on your own.

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, called Closing Order. This means there was not enough evidence to support the claim that you breached 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 evidence, and the information against you discovered during the inquiry, along with the particular laws or regulations that you’re accused of violating. At this time, the complaint becomes public record. Even if the claim is thrown out, your reputation as a professional Septic Tank Contractor could be harmed. After consulting with your attorney, you can determine whether you want to attend an Informal Hearing or Formal Hearing.

Informal Hearing

If you choose to proceed with an Informal Hearing, you do not wish to disagree with any of the allegations against you, nor do you want to disclose any new evidence. Instead, you’re accepting the claims, and you’ll face the FDOH and the Building Code Administrators and Inspectors Board, where they’ll make a final decision on penalties that will be imposed levied against you.

Formal Hearing

If you wish to dispute the accusations and evidence found against you during the investigation, you proceed 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 hears the evidence from both sides and makes a final Recommended Order to the Department of Health. The DOH then makes a final decision regarding disciplinary actions.

You can appeal the decision by filing a petition for judicial review if your septic tank license is suspended or revoked. Your lawyer is your most valued support as you go through this process – always seek advice from them before making a final decision.

How Can a Professional License Defense Lawyer Help?

At The Umansky Law Firm, our professional license defense team investigates every case in detail to find the relevant facts and the most efficient way to protect your Florida building inspector license. Occasionally, complaints against building inspectors can go to criminal court and face criminal charges. Having a skilled criminal lawyer who handles professional license defense is the highest priority.

Umansky attorneys can help you in many ways, including:

 

  • Examine the complaint against you and build a defense by securing evidence, documents, and witnesses that help you
  • Prevent you from incriminating yourself as you defend against the accusations
  • Defend against potential criminal charges that may 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 determine 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 Florida DOH may want to take
  • Present evidence, witnesses, and cross-examine state’s witnesses at a formal review hearing
  • Dispute the findings at an informal review hearing
  • Appeal the hearing

Call Skilled Orlando Septic Tank Contractor Defense Attorneys

If you have been accused of committing an act where the DOH may take your license or suspend your business operations, call The Umansky Law Firm to advocate for you. As experienced trial lawyers, we can help you build a strong defense against the accusations you face that might include dismissal of the complaint or claim against you. Because we have a criminal defense experience that includes government agencies, fraud, and other crimes, we are qualified and prepared to defend you in the administrative action that will help you avoid license suspension and criminal prosecution.

 

The Umansky Law Firm attorneys include former prosecutors, defense attorneys, and some have experience working directly with the Department of Health. To speak with an administrative lawyer today about your Florida septic contractor license, complete an online contact form or call at (407) 228-3838.