Administrative Law

The State of Florida is not just a sunny place to lay on the beach. The State of Florida is diverse in its residents, business endeavors, commerce, and meeting the needs of our community. Florida is comprised of 67 counties, thousands of cities, and a state government that has 37 departments that regulate life here in the Sunshine State. From the Department of Children and Families to the Department of Agriculture, every agency has state laws, rules, and policies that they are bound to follow to ensure that the laws of Florida are being implemented and the rights of citizens are being protected. At times, however, residents have disputes with a state, county, or local agency, and it is necessary to take action. When these situations start, however, most people find themselves asking "where do I even start?"

While it may seem like "David Fighting Goliath", citizens from around the state has the right to challenge decisions and rulings made by an agency working on behalf of the government. The services of a Florida Administrative Law Attorney can help a client successfully challenge or appeal rulings by a state agency.

Whether you are contesting professional or occupational discipline through the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, a decision from the Department of Children and Families, a ruling from the Department of Education or any other agency, it is important to have an experienced Florida lawyer and advocate at your side that not only understands what the law is, but also how the procedure is different from going to the courthouse.

Jennifer Erlinger is an experienced attorney with the law firm of Wood, Atter & Wolf, P.A. in the area of Administrative Law. She has conducted over 100 Administrative hearings during her time working for the State of Florida while representing agencies all over the State of Florida and in many cases in the Tallahassee, the Capitol of the State of Florida. After years of helping to maintain the status quo, and trying to change "the system" from within, attorney Jennifer Erlinger now helps residents to fight for their rights against state and local agencies.

How Does Florida Administrative Law Work? What can I do to Protect and Enforce my Legal Rights?

Every citizen of Florida is touched by the work of agencies everyday. From the Florida Driver's License in your wallet to the elevator you ride in at the store, state agencies regulate how life and business are conducted in State of Florida. Business enterprises, agriculture, schools, libraries, and toll plazas are all managed by laws, rules, and policies that are in place to make sure that citizens are safe, but also for the uniform application of regulations. For example, let's say that you have a dream to open a restaurant. You find the location, rent the space, buy the supplies, print up the menus, and open the door for business, right? Not in Florida. You have to apply for a permit with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which there are several options to choose from based on your business, what you intend to sell, and how you intend to serve it. You also need a inspection from the State of Florida Department of Health. These are just two of the agencies that would be regulating your business enterprise. Next, what happens when a state agency denies your permit; or you don't pass your inspection? At that point, you can request an Administrative Hearing or file an Administrative complaint. Then the agency will appoint an Administrative Law Judge to hear your case. But instead of going to the courthouse in your area, you will usually go to the local agency location to have the Florida Administrative Law hearing. At the hearing, you will be required produce your evidence, witnesses, and argument, and the agency will have an attorney that specializes in administrative hearings to argue for them. The judge will review the evidence and testimony and thereafter issue a proposed order that is submitted to the responsible agency. Florida Administrative Law is a technical and complicated area of the law, and many attorneys have little to no experience in Administrative Law. In the example above, your dream may be significantly delayed or even dashed all together, because an agency made a decision contrary to your business plans and business interests.

Another aspect of Administrative Law has to do with rulemaking. As stated above, every agency has laws that they are required to enforce. In addition, every agency has rules as to how they are to enforce those laws. The agency makes it own rules through a process called promulgation. In order for an agency to create a rule, it has to be published in its draft form, considered by a committee, arguments against adopting the rule are heard, and decision is made as to whether the draft rule should become a rule. If any agency is drafting or changing a rule that will affect you, you should explore with a Florida Administrative Law attorney how to challenge the adoption of that rule.

Another reason that you may want to contact an Administrative Law lawyer regarding agency action is if you are subject to disciplinary action regarding your professional or occupational license. In these cases, where a complaint has been filed as to how you conduct business, as any licensed professional in the State of Florida, your livelihood is at risk. In these cases, it is very important to speak an attorney who understands not only what the rules are, but also how the process works to best defend your right to work in Florida.

Navigating the process of how to protect your rights as a resident of the State of Florida is complicated. Having an attorney to guide you to how to best proceed and represent your interests before a committee, board, or commission is key to your success in protecting your way of life and being successful in an administrative action in Florida.

Contact Wood, Atter & Wolf, P.A. to set up a consultation regarding your administrative law cases and issues. Since 1957, the attorneys at Wood, Atter & Wolf, P.A. have been On Your Side - At Your Side.

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