Posted on October 9, 2015
Business & Professions Code 7028 BP – Contracting without a License
In California, contracting without a license is charged under business and professions code 7028 bp making it a crime to engage in, or act in the capacity, as a licensed contractor. An investigation is ordinarily sparked when someone lodges a complaint with the California State Licensing Board.
Due to recent California legislature enactments, unlicensed contracting carries significant consequences. Once a complaint is lodged, an assigned investigator will obtain e-mail correspondence, witness interviews, photograph the job site, and business advertisements – all evidence that will be used against you. Accordingly, it is encouraged that you retain counsel once at the initial stages of the investigation.
Legal Defenses to BP 7028
Unlicensed contracting is a strict liability offense, meaning that a person’s state of mind is not relevant in the case. For instance, accident, absent mindfulness, or other innocent beliefs in the validity of an invalid license is not a defense. However, if your conduct does not fall within the defined term of “contractor,” – e.g., obtaining permits, then your conduct did not fall within the purview of the statute. Additionally, you may be subject to entrapment in the event you’re arrest or charged after a law enforcement sting operation. Furthermore, most unlicensed contracting cases solely fall within the presentations made by a person. The law under corpus delicti require that the prosecution require more than your outside statements.
Punishment & Sentencing
Contracting without a license is a priorable offense which means the punishment becomes more severe for every subsequent conviction.
- A conviction is punishable for up to six (6) months in the county jail and a fine not exceeding $5,000. In addition, the court will order repayment of restitution for any amount the alleged victim paid the unlicensed person.
- A second conviction is punishable in the county jail for not less than 90 days in the county jail and a court fine amount either $5,000 or 20 percent of the contract price, or 20 percent of the aggregate payments made to the unlicensed person – whichever is greater. The Court may impose a lesser jail sentence, but the court must state the reasons for its sentencing choice on the record.
- A third conviction is punishable by a jail sentence of not less than 90 days, but not more than one (1) year in the county jail. In addition to a court fine not less than $5,000 and not more than $10,000.
Contact Us to Schedule a Free Consultation
If you have been arrested, charged, or are under investigation for contracting without a license, then contact the Law Offices of John D. Rogers to schedule a consultation with an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney. Give us a call today about discussing your rights and mounting your defense.
 Unless exempted from this chapter, it is a misdemeanor for a person to engage in the business of, or act in the capacity of, a contractor within this state under either of the following conditions:
(1) The person is not licensed in accordance with this chapter.
(2) The person performs acts covered by this chapter under a license that is under suspension for failure to pay a civil penalty or to comply with an order of correction, pursuant to Section 7090.1, or for failure to resolve all outstanding final liabilities, pursuant to Section 7145.5.
 Business & Professions Code 7028(b) (“A first conviction for the offense described in this section is punishable by a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars ($5,000) or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding six months, or by both that fine and imprisonment.”)
 Business & Professions Code 7028(c) (“If a person has been previously convicted of the offense described in this section, unless the provisions of subdivision (d) are applicable, the court shall impose a fine of 20 percent of the contract price, or 20 percent of the aggregate payments made to, or at the direction of, the unlicensed person, or five thousand dollars ($5,000), whichever is greater, and, unless the sentence prescribed in subdivision (d) is imposed, the person shall be confined in a county jail for not less than 90 days, except in an unusual case where the interests of justice would be served by imposition of a lesser sentence or a fine. If the court imposes only a fine or a jail sentence of less than 90 days for second or subsequent convictions under this section, the court shall state the reasons for its sentencing choice on the record.”)
 Business & Professions Code 7028(d) (“A third or subsequent conviction for the offense described in this section is punishable by a fine of not less than five thousand dollars ($5,000) nor more than the greater amount of ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or 20 percent of the contract price, or 20 percent of the aggregate payments made to, or at the direction of, the unlicensed person, and by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year or less than 90 days. The penalty provided by this subdivision is cumulative to the penalties available under all other laws of this state.”)
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