A 56-year-old man responded to a request for general contracting work on a home in Manatee County when he became ensnared in a joint sting operation between the Florida Department of Financial Services and the Manatee County Sheriff’s Department. The man’s sole employment was through his handyman services and because the operation targeted unlicensed contractors, he was charged with a third-degree felony of failure to obtain worker’s compensation insurance and a misdemeanor charge of being an unlicensed contractor. The man had no prior criminal history and since his only desire was to earn a living, he was obviously troubled by the possibility of serving time in jail for these offenses. Unsure of how to handle the situation, he reached out to attorney Erika Valcarcel for legal guidance.

In an effort to help her client, attorney Valcarcel began negotiations with the county prosecutors. Varcarcel explained that the man had no intent to deceive anyone as an unlicensed contractor and he merely did not know about the requirement to have a license or carry this type of insurance. The prosecutors did, in fact, take this and his previously clean record into account and agreed to a Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI). Upon completion of the PTI diversion program and some community service, the charges against him will be dropped, allowing him to move on and correct the issues that would limit his chosen profession.

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