If you have been accused of fraudulent use of a contractor's license number in California, it is crucial to contest the charges against you. Please contact Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 to request a complimentary case evaluation with a skilled attorney who will provide legal assistance and support tailored to your specific situation.
Understanding the Legal Definition of Fraudulently Using a Contractor's License Number
To begin, let us clarify the meaning of fraudulently using a contractor's license number as defined by California statutes. This occurs when an individual deliberately and intentionally utilizes a contractor's license number with the intent to deceive another person and gain money or property through fraudulent means.
Legal Defense One: Lack of Willful Act
While each case is unique, there are typically three primary legal defenses available for this charge. First, demonstrating that the action was not carried out willfully is crucial. Merely engaging in illegal actions does not automatically make someone guilty of this particular crime, as the element of willful intent must be present. For instance, if an individual used a friend's contractor's license on paperwork, genuinely believing it to be permissible, they may be found not guilty.
Legal Defense Two: Absence of Intent to Defraud
The prosecution must also prove that there was an intention to defraud. If an individual used another person's contractor's license without any intent to defraud, they cannot be legally held accountable. For example, a graphic designer creating mock business cards who incorporates someone else's contractor license number for design purposes does not possess the intent to defraud anyone.
Legal Defense Three: Duress
Claiming duress implies that an individual was compelled to perform a specific action under threats or coercion. This defense specifically applies to situations where an individual acted out of fear for their own safety or the safety of others.
Potential Penalties for a Conviction
If convicted, the severity of the offense determines whether the charge is classified as a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor conviction can lead to a maximum sentence of one year in county jail and fines up to $1,000. On the other hand, a felony conviction can result in imprisonment in state prison for up to three years, along with fines of up to $10,000.
If you find yourself facing charges related to this or any other professional crime, it is advisable to consult with a skilled criminal defense attorney who can provide guidance and representation. To schedule a free legal consultation, please contact Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055.