Florida Tattoo Artist Defense Attorney

Are you a tattoo artist that has been served with an Administrative Complaint from the Florida Department of Health (FDOH)? Are you afraid that a grievance will harm your professional reputation and future career? Losing your Florida tattoo license can do more than affect your livelihood—it can lead to a jail sentence of up to 60 days and a fine of up to $500.

It’s vital to take the complaint filed against you seriously. At The Umansky Law Firm, our professional license defense attorneys understand how to construct a concrete defense against your allegations. We can help you protect the tattoo license you’ve worked so hard to obtain.

What Does a Tattoo Artist Do?

Tattooing dates back to Neolithic times and was, at one time, a ritualistic and religious practice. Today, a tattoo artist is someone who designs and applies permanent images or words to a client’s skin using needles and ink. A licensed tattoo artist typically focuses on crafting and applying the design, but they also have additional roles that include:

  • Washing and disinfecting the tattoo equipment and work areas
  • Creating and drawing new tattoo prints
  • Booking appointments
  • Meeting with clients to discuss their designs
  • Instructing clients on the appropriate tattoo maintenance and upkeep
  • Staying up-to-date on tattoo safety guidelines and trends

According to Florida Statute 381.00771, a tattoo is:

 

“…a mark or design made on or under the skin of a human being by a process of piercing and ingraining a pigment, dye, or ink in the skin.”

The statute specifies that a tattoo artist—defined as “a person licensed to practice tattooing”—must be licensed in order to avoid the inherent risks to personal and public health involved in tattoo artistry. Florida Statute 381.00775 reads:

“…a person may not tattoo the body of any human being in [Florida] unless the person is licensed as a tattoo artist or registered as a guest tattoo artist…”

Why Is It Important for Tattoo Artists to be Licensed?

Tattooing another person without appropriate instruction can be extremely dangerous and unsanitary. Tattoos breach the skin, so the use of a contaminated needle can cause infections, allergic reactions, and other complications. Furthermore, because tattoos are permanent, getting a bad one from an unlicensed artist can be beyond frustrating.

Though rules vary state to state, Florida requires that all tattoo artists be licensed. This includes:

  • Anyone who tattoos the body of another human
  • Anyone who practices cosmetic tattooing, permanent make-up, microblading, or micropigmentation
  • Students or apprentices who tattoo other humans as part of their tattoo training
  • Tattoo or permanent makeup artist licensed outside of Florida

Who Licenses Tattoo Artists in Florida?

The Florida Department of Health issues all tattoo licenses. To obtain a tattoo artist license, you must:

Tattoo artists can renew their license by completing an online application through their local health department.

Likewise, all tattoo establishments require licensure, which necessitates completion of the $200 Tattoo Establishment License Application, registering the business with the Florida Department of State, and passing inspection in compliance with the Florida Administrative Code.

Can a Tattoo Artist Face Disciplinary Action in Florida?

A person charged with practicing tattooing without a proper license in Florida could face a misdemeanor of the second degree. A conviction could result in a jail term of up to 60 days and a fine of up to $500. There are a number of restrictions that may lead to such a penalty. According to Florida Statute 381.00785, a person may not:

  • Operate a permanent or temporary tattoo establishment without a license
  • Practice tattooing in Florida without a license
  • Tattoo another person in any other location besides a licensed tattoo establishment
  • Obtain a license by means of fraud, misrepresentation, or concealment

How Are Complaints Filed in Florida?

Consumers can report a complaint against a tattoo artist or establishment through The Florida Department of Health’s Florida Health Care Complaint Portal, which provides citizens with the option to file a complaint against a business, a person, or both.

What is the Complaint Process Against Florida Tattoo Artists?

Once a complaint has been filed through the Health Care Complaint Portal, an investigator from the Department of Health is assigned to review your case, collect evidence, and determine whether there is enough information to continue the inquiry. The type of evidence gathered after a complaint has been filed can include:

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

If you’ve been contacted by an investigator assigned to your case, it’s important not to ignore a potential meeting or phone call. Instead, you should quickly get in touch with a credible tattoo license defense attorney before you encounter an investigator. 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 Department of Health determines that enough proof has been collected 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 infringed.

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 finds “no probable cause”—meaning there isn’t enough evidence to prove that you defied any rules—the case will be dismissed. If the panel issues a letter of guidance, you will not face disciplinary action, but your reputation could be damaged. If a formal Administrative Complaint has been declared, the process will continue with further administrative action.

What’s the Process of an Administrative Complaint?

The issuance of a formal Administrative Complaint is the most severe outcome that can result from a review. At this stage, the complaint has become public record. Even if your case is eventually dismissed, your reputation can be tarnished. The written complaint will outline the specific laws or regulations that you’re accused of violating as well as the statements and evidence used against you during the investigation. A defense attorney will be able to help you decide whether to appear at a Formal Hearing or Informal Hearing.

Informal Hearing

If you elect to proceed with an informal hearing, you don’t plan to argue any of the claims against you, nor do you expect to present any new evidence. Rather, you’ll accept the complaints and face the Florida Department of Health, which will make a final decision on the penalties you’ll face.

Formal Hearing

At a formal hearing, you have the option of arguing your case and presenting new evidence for review. You’ll stand before Florida’s Division of Administrative Hearings (DOAH) and an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), who will hear evidence from both sides and eventually make a Recommendation Order to the Board, who will then make a final decision concerning disciplinary actions.

If you wish to do so, you can appeal the decision by filing a petition for judicial review. Remember, always consult with a credible attorney 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 considerable detail to discover the facts and determine the best strategy to resolve the complaint. Having an expert criminal lawyer who has experience defending tattoo artists should be your top priority.

The attorneys at The Umansky Law Firm can help you in the following ways:

  • Review the complaint filed against you and create a solid defense by collecting evidence, documents, and witnesses that will help your case
  • Prevent you from incriminating yourself as you defend against your allegations
  • Determine the motive or bias of the complainant
  • Help you get the case dismissed by the Probable Cause Panel
  • Argue for a letter of guidance rather than a formal Administrative Complaint
  • 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 Tattoo License Defense Lawyers in Florida

If you or your establishment is facing a license suspension, the reliable attorneys at The Umansky Law Firm can help. We will build a strong defense against the allegations brought against you and could potentially dismiss your case completely. We want to help you defend your reputation and avoid both license suspension and criminal liability.

The experienced lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm are dedicated to making this process as easy as possible. With over 100 years of combined legal experience, our team has the time and expertise to help fight for your rights. We’ll be by your side as we guide you through the entire criminal justice process from start to finish. To speak with an administrative attorney about your Florida tattoo license, give us a call at (407) 228-3838 or complete an online contact form today!