Unlicensed Commercial Telephone Solicitation in Florida

The Florida Telemarketing Act requires certain commercial telemarketing businesses, and their salespeople who are engaged in telemarketing in Florida, to have a telemarketing license from the Florida Department of Agriculture.

Definition of Unlicensed Commercial Telephone Solicitation

Under Florida Statute 501.623, the crime of Unlicensed Commercial Telephone Solicitation occurs when:

  • A licensed salesperson solicits on behalf of an unlicensed commercial telemarketing company;
  • A licensed commercial telemarketing company allows an unlicensed salesperson to solicit purchasers on their behalf; or
  • An unlicensed commercial telemarketing company or unlicensed salesperson solicits a purchaser for the purpose of attempting to sell consumer goods or services.

Vicarious Liability

The statute is written so that both the telemarketing company and the salesperson can be held criminally liable if either operates without a license.

Penalties for Unlicensed Commercial Telephone Solicitation

The crime of Unlicensed Commercial Telephone Solicitation is classified as a Third Degree Felony and assigned a Level 1 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code.

If convicted of Unlicensed Commercial Telephone Solicitation in Florida, a judge can impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Up to five (5) years in prison.
  • Up to five (5) years of probation.
  • Up to $5,000 in fines.

Defenses to Unlicensed Commercial Telephone Solicitation

In addition to the pretrial defenses and trial defenses that can be raised in any criminal case, specific defenses to the crime of Unlicensed Commercial Telephone Solicitation are:

Exempt Entity

A person who engages in telemarketing activities for an exempt entity does not need a commercial telephone solicitation license. (Such as a religious, charitable, political, or educational organization.)

In order to qualify under the exempt entity defense, the entity must meet the specific exemption criteria found within Florida Statute 501.604.

For example, a non-profit organization must be registered as a 501(c)(3) tax exempt entity with the Internal Revenue Service to qualify as an exempt entity under the Florida Telemarketing Act.

Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby

If you have been arrested or charged with the crime of Unlicensed Commercial Telephone Solicitation in Central Florida or the Greater Orlando area, contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby today.

The initial consultation is free and I am always available to advise you on the proper course of action that can be taken.