455.228 Unlicensed practice of a profession; cease and desist notice; civil penalty; enforcement; citations; allocation of moneys collected.—
(1) When the department has probable cause to believe that any person not licensed by the department, or the appropriate regulatory board within the department, has violated any provision of this chapter or any statute that relates to the practice of a profession regulated by the department, or any rule adopted pursuant thereto, the department may issue and deliver to such person a notice to cease and desist from such violation. In addition, the department may issue and deliver a notice to cease and desist to any person who aids and abets the unlicensed practice of a profession by employing such unlicensed person. The issuance of a notice to cease and desist shall not constitute agency action for which a hearing under ss. 120.569 and 120.57 may be sought. For the purpose of enforcing a cease and desist notice, the department may file a proceeding in the name of the state seeking issuance of an injunction or a writ of mandamus against any person who violates any provisions of such notice. In addition to the foregoing remedies, the department may impose an administrative penalty not to exceed $5,000 per incident pursuant to the provisions of chapter 120 or may issue a citation pursuant to the provisions of subsection (3). If the department is required to seek enforcement of the notice for a penalty pursuant to s. 120.569, it shall be entitled to collect its attorney’s fees and costs, together with any cost of collection.
(2) In addition to or in lieu of any remedy provided in subsection (1), the department may seek the imposition of a civil penalty through the circuit court for any violation for which the department may issue a notice to cease and desist under subsection (1). The civil penalty shall be no less than $500 and no more than $5,000 for each offense. The court may also award to the prevailing party court costs and reasonable attorney fees and, in the event the department prevails, may also award reasonable costs of investigation.
(3)(a) Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 455.225, the department shall adopt rules to permit the issuance of citations for unlicensed practice of a profession. The citation shall be issued to the subject and shall contain the subject’s name and any other information the department determines to be necessary to identify the subject, a brief factual statement, the sections of the law allegedly violated, and the penalty imposed. The citation must clearly state that the subject may choose, in lieu of accepting the citation, to follow the procedure under s. 455.225. If the subject disputes the matter in the citation, the procedures set forth in s. 455.225 must be followed. However, if the subject does not dispute the matter in the citation with the department within 30 days after the citation is served, the citation shall become a final order of the department. The penalty shall be a fine of not less than $500 or more than $5,000 or other conditions as established by rule.
(b) Each day that the unlicensed practice continues after issuance of a citation constitutes a separate violation.
(c) The department shall be entitled to recover the costs of investigation, in addition to any penalty provided according to department rule as part of the penalty levied pursuant to the citation.
(d) Service of a citation may be made by personal service or certified mail, restricted delivery, to the subject at the subject’s last known address.
(4) All fines, fees, and costs collected through the procedures set forth in this section shall be allocated to the professions in the manner provided for in s. 455.2281 for the allocation of the fees assessed and collected to combat unlicensed practice of a profession.
(5) The provisions of this section apply only to the provisions of s. 455.217 and the professional practice acts administered by the department.
History.—s. 3, ch. 84-271; s. 6, ch. 90-228; s. 58, ch. 92-33; s. 26, ch. 92-149; s. 23, ch. 93-129; s. 11, ch. 94-119; ss. 83, 84, ch. 94-218; s. 213, ch. 96-410; s. 25, ch. 97-261; s. 34, ch. 2000-160; s. 13, ch. 2010-106.