There were a number of arrests of “unlicensed” contractors here in Sarasota over the last week. Law enforcement was running a sting responding to people on the Internet offering “handy man” type of services. There is a push to stop men from offering electrical, plumbing and repair services if they do not have a valid County license. Sadly, some of the men are just trying to put food on the table for themselves and their families by trying to find legitimate work. There is a problem with “unlicensed contracting” when it comes to some of the repairs and remodeling services offered, but hopefully, the State attorney’s office will be able to weed out the cases and decide who really needs to be prosecuted and who does not. As a criminal defense lawyer here in Sarasota, I try to keep people from getting a felony conviction and ruining their lives and their future. Many times we are able to negotiate a resolution avoiding court entirely.
A lot of the men arrested are in their fifties and sixties and just trying to find work. My suggestion is for men to go ahead and get a license. It is important that the license be for the exact type of service offered. In some cases, when the men respond to someone calling for their service, they are solicited to perform another type of service (like electrical or plumbing), and when they offer to do so, are arrested.
The other thing being targeted is contractors that use employees that are not covered for “workman’s compensation”. This is sad when the worker is an extra day laborer hired just for that day or just for that job. Working for a living beats being homeless or being unemployed.
I wish the cops here in Sarasota would exercise a little discretion in deciding who really needs to be arrested and who just needs a warning or some advice on how to get the proper license. I know times are tough for some of the guys arrested but having a good defense attorney can make a huge difference in the outcome.If you have questions or want to discuss this call 941 366 3506