License Defense: The Complaint Process
Complaints are usually submitted to and handled by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). However, these complaints are sometimes handled differently in the building and construction industry. Allegations against an architect’s license require the individual filing the complaint to contact a State-appointed law firm for investigation of the case, whereas allegations made against an engineer’s license are typically processed through the Florida Board of Professional Engineers and/or the Florida Engineering Management Corporation. For contractors who hold a “registered” license, complaints must be filed with the local issuing government or municipal entity.
If you are a contractor and have allegations against your license, we strongly recommend you obtain the services of an experienced and competent Clearwater contractor lawyer as soon as possible.
The Initial Investigation
While there may be slight differences with how the complaints are filed and handled, the complaint process is very similar among these professions. Once the complaint is filed, it is then reviewed by either a DBPR investigator, a Board investigator, or an investigator from a contracted law firm. During this investigation, information provided in the complaint is verified to help determine whether or not to proceed with the complaint. Procedures that are typically used during such investigations include interviews with complainants, witnesses or the subject of the complaint, issuing subpoenas, taking sworn statements, compiling documentary evidence, and preparing reports. As contractor lawyers in Clearwater, FL, we understand how intimidating these investigations can be.
The Probable Cause Panel
If during the initial investigation, the investigator determines that the complaint is justified by law or regulation, the complaint will be forwarded to a Probable Cause panel. The role of the panel is to review all evidence and supporting documentation to determine if a violation occurred and the severity of such violation.
There are typically three different outcomes from the review of a Probable Cause panel:
- No Probable Cause – The facts gathered during the initial investigation cannot be sustained, crucial witness cannot be located, a lack of clear and convincing evidence, or other various reasons deem the case dismissable.
- Letter of Guidance – The panel has determined that a violation of law or regulation has occurred, but the violation was considered such a minor infraction that it did not require disciplinary action.
- Administrative Complaint – The panel has determined that a violation has occurred which requires disciplinary action. If the panel has reached this decision, it is strongly encouraged to seek the legal council of an experienced contractor lawyer in Clearwater.
To speak with a contractor lawyer about a complaint against your license, please contact us today.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.