Investigations regarding claims of violations of the state residential and general contractor licensing act (including the unlicensed practice of construction) are often initiated by a letter, phone call or communication from an investigator. Investigators are peace officers. They are authorized by Georgia law to obtain documents by subpoena, interviews with 3d parties, interviews with complainants and interviews with the "accused". If the communication is in writing or a voicemail, immediately contact an attorney - do not call back. When an investigator contacts you in person or on the phone, immediately ask for their contact information (full name, title, phone, email and fax). Write it down. Your next statement should be "I will be glad to respond as appropriate to your investigation as soon as I have contacted legal counsel."
Investigators are NOT your friend!
These officers are not generally required to read you "Miranda" rights. You have the right to remain silent. This would be a good time to exercise that right. The investigator is not there hoping you will convince him/her that there is not a violation of the law. The investigator has taken the time to communicate with you and is seeking to find a violation to justify that time. YOU do have the right to an attorney and you should say NOTHING other than the statement above until you have contacted an attorney.
If asked for files or documents
Ask the investigator if they have a subpoena. If they do not, they have no right to demand any documents. DO NOT OFFER YOUR FILES.
If the investigator has a subpoena, you may be required to provide the information but again ask if you may first contact an attorney....and explain to any attorney or receptionist that the investigator is present in your office.
Do NOT delay.
Your business may be at risk. You may be subject to harsh civil and criminal penalties. This is now your top priority!
Your attorney needs to understand the licensing law
The Georgia act went into effect in 2008. Many attorneys are not familiar with the law. Be sure you contact an attorney who understands the law, the Board, the issues and the potential ramifications.