California Contractors State License Board

Your contractors license is your livelihood. You have spent years to obtain the training and experience necessary to qualify for a license and to build your business. However, the laws and regulations applicable to contractors are complex, and a potential minefield for those attempting to navigate it alone. The professional licensing attorneys at Kevin Cauley, P.C. represent contractors in investigations and disciplinary proceedings before the Contractors State License Board (CSLB). Additionally, we counsel applicants on assembling the best application packages possible.

If you have been contacted by a CSLB investigator, or have reason to believe you are under investigation, or you have received an Accusation, contact our office immediately to speak with a professional licensing attorney who has expertise defending contractors before the Contractors State License Board.

Additionally, we understand that the licensing laws have a tremendous impact on your ability to get paid for the work you do. Kevin Cauley, P.C. has the expertise to represent contractors against claims of improper licensure as a means of other parties failing to pay you all the money you are due under a contract. Moreover, we have experience in defeating claims for payment by contractors and subcontractors who have failed to obtain or maintain appropriate licensure.

California’s contractors licensing laws are complex and have a direct impact on any construction project with which you are involved. The CSLB licenses nearly 300,000 contractors in 43 different licensing classifications. The professional licensing lawyers at Kevin Cauley, P.C.understand these complexities and can assist you every step of the way.

Disciplinary Process

Generally, the CSLB has up to four years to open an investigation and will investigate both licensed and unlicensed contractors. Investigations may be triggered by criminal convictions or by complaints made by others in the construction industry, government actors or public consumers.  CSLB handles complaints against contractors related to fraud, misrepresentation, failing to complete contracted work, failing to maintain required records, working without proper licensing and withholding money from subcontractors or vendors.

In response to a complaint, the CSLB may attempt to resolve the matter through early mediation or arbitration. If the complaint cannot be resolved at that stage, or if the complaint involves a probable violation of the licensing law, it is referred to an Investigative Center. If you have been contacted by an investigator seeking to interview you, it is imperative that you speak with an experienced licensing attorney at once.

Upon conclusion of the investigation, any of the following may be recommended:

  • Closure of the complaint file due to resolution, lack of evidence, or a finding of no violation
  • Referral to CSLB-sponsored arbitration
  • Issuance of a warning letter
  • Issuance of a citation
  • Filing of an Accusation
  • Filing of criminal charges
  • Filing of a petition for an injunction

If an Accusation is filed, the Office of the Attorney General will represent the CSLB in the administrative hearing which could result in the suspension or revocation of your license.

Furthermore, if a license is revoked for violation of the licensing law, the contractor must file a Disciplinary Bond before the license may be reinstated or reissued. The amount of the bond may not be less than $15,000, nor greater than ten times the amount of the contractors bond. The bond must be on file for at least two years, or for a longer time to be determined by the CSLB.

Criminal Convictions

CSLB discipline may also be triggered if a licensed contractor is convicted of a crime, either felony or misdemeanor. Although the conviction must be “substantially related” to the qualifications, functions and duties of a contractor, both the CSLB and the courts broadly interpret which convictions are substantially related. Courts have held that offenses involving physical violence, fraud, theft, or dishonesty are all substantially related to the work of a contractor, even when those offenses do not involve clients or job-related matters.

Civil Judgments

A contractor is required to report any unsatisfied construction-related civil court judgment to CSLB within 90 days of the judgment date. A private arbitration decision is considered the same as a civil court judgment. Failure to report a judgment within 90 days will result in an immediate suspension of your contractors license from the date that the judgment is reported. Your license will then remain suspended until the judgment is resolved.

If the judgment is reported in a timely manner, the contractor will be given an additional 90 days to resolve the judgment. However, if after that 90 days the judgment remains unresolved, the license will be suspended until the judgment is resolved.

Additionally, your contractors license may be suspended if you have outstanding liabilities with government agencies such as the Employment Development Department, Department of Industrial Relations or the Franchise Tax Board.

Any license suspension is serious and must be resolved before you can contract for further work.

California has among the strictest licensing laws in the country in relation to contractors. Without an active license, you cannot contract for work and could have serious problems obtaining compensation for your work. If you are contacted by an investigator or receive notice of a complaint or accusation, your livelihood may be on the line. The experienced attorneys of Kevin Cauley, P.C. can guide you through this process and provide you with the aggressive representation you need to protect your license.

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