Business and Professions Code section 7028
§ 7028. Engaging in business without license; Fine and punishment; Statute of limitations
- It is a misdemeanor for a person to engage in the business or act in the capacity of a contractor within this state without having a license therefor, unless the person is particularly exempted from the provisions of this chapter.
- 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.
- 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 contractor, 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.
- 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 contractor, 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.
- A person who violates this section is subject to the penalties prescribed in subdivision (d) if the person was named on a license that was previously revoked and, either in fact or under law, was held responsible for any act or omission resulting in the revocation.
- If the person engaging in the business of or acting in the capacity of an unlicensed contractor has agreed to furnish materials and labor on an hourly basis, "the contract price" for the purposes of this section means the aggregate sum of the cost of materials and labor furnished and the cost of completing the work to be performed.
- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an indictment for any violation of this section by the unlicensed contractor shall be found or an information or complaint filed within four years from the date of the contract proposal, contract, completion, or abandonment of the work, whichever occurs last.
- For any conviction under this section, a person who utilized
the services of the unlicensed contractor is a victim of crime and is
eligible, pursuant to subdivision (f) of Section 1202.4 of the Penal
Code, for restitution for economic losses, regardless of whether
that person had knowledge that the contractor was unlicensed.