Southern Nevada has been seeing an upswing in criminal charges for contracting without a license being filed by the District Attorney’s office. Unlicensed contracting occurs when a person or business enters into a contract to do some kind of service for another, without first obtaining the proper licensing or Board certifications. These charges carry serious penalties, and can result in convictions that will remain on a person’s criminal record. A criminal defense attorney can beat or settle these charges to avoid such harsh penalties.
Innocent people are often times charged in Southern Nevada for unlicensed contracting, or advertising as a contractor without the proper licensing. A very common situation that occurs is when a properly licensed contractor exceeds the scope of their license in order to complete a job. An example of this could be where a landscaper constructs a decorative wall, or where a flooring installer runs some electrical wires in the room where the floor was being laid. Contracting without a license charges have become increasingly more common in the Las Vegas and Henderson areas as the Nevada state contractors board has begun reporting alleged offenses to the District Attorney’s office more and more regularly. Unlicensed contracting is a criminal offense. A first offense conviction is a misdemeanor. A second offense conviction is a gross misdemeanor. A third offense conviction is a felony. These crimes are charged under the Nevada Revised Statutes Chapter 624, Section 700. The Statute provides:
The statute also provides for the potential penalties that may be assessed against anyone who violates its provisions as follows:
Keep in mind that any contracts entered into with someone who is not properly licensed are considered void ab initio. This means that an unlicensed contractor can not enforce the terms of a contract, even if the work has already been completed. Basically, a contractor could complete an entire job and submit a bill to the customer, but if he is not properly licensed, the customer can get away with not paying a dime for the work, even if it was masterfully done!
A criminal defense attorney could review an unlicensed contracting case and come up with numerous defenses that could possibly help a person defend against the criminal charges.
One possible defense to a charge of contracting without a license could be that the statute of limitations has run. Normally, misdemeanor offenses can only be criminally charged within a year of the alleged offense. The Nevada Revised Statutes provide a longer than normal statute of limitations for unlicensed contracting; a district attorney could file a criminal complaint any time within 2 years of the alleged unlicensed contracting job. If, however, 2 years has passed, a criminal defense lawyer could argue to the judge that the case should be dismissed.
Another possible defense could be proving that the unlicensed contractor did a job that falls under one of the exemptions from licensure allowed by statute. NRS 624.031 provides a long list of possible exemptions, but a quick example of an exemption is any job that, including material and labor, is valued under $1,000.00. These are only some of the many ways to try and contest a criminal charge of contracting without a license. If you or someone you know has been criminally charged for unlicensed contracting anywhere in Southern Nevada, contact the Boley and AlDabbagh Law Firm today.