Owning a vehicle dealership is a massive responsibility. You might be in charge of managing multiple employees, hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of inventory, and keeping track of ever-changing state and federal regulations every day. As a dealership owner, your vehicle dealer license is the most important asset to your business.
If your auto dealer license is in jeopardy because of a complaint against you, because you are facing criminal charges, or if you have been wrongly denied a dealer license, our Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm is here to help you. We can assist you, no matter where you are located, in defending your dealer license and your business from your state's licensing agency. Don't wait to get started—contact the Lento Law Firm today!
Getting a Vehicle Dealer License
Getting and keeping a license from the state to maintain a vehicle dealership is no easy task. If you don't follow your state's procedures and requirements exactly or meet each qualification as they specify, your license could be denied even if you are qualified. There may be different types of licenses depending on the types of vehicles you want to sell and different rules for new versus used vehicles.
Every state has different requirements for obtaining a vehicle dealer license. Getting a vehicle dealer license is more than just checking all the boxes, however. There are many reasons why a license might be denied to a potential new or used car dealer, and there are many ways to reverse these decisions. The nationwide Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm can advise you on the best way to get your license after a denial.
Getting Investigated After A Complaint Against Your License
If you run a successful vehicle dealership, having your license suspended or revoked can be disastrous for your business. Without an active license, you cannot engage in the sale of vehicles, and you may lose income and employees.
Your state's Department of Motor Vehicles, Department of Licensing, or similar agency will be in charge of investigating complaints against vehicle and vessel dealers. Not all complaints result in an investigation—most states keep records of complaints and investigate only when the overall circumstances warrant it.
If you are investigated, the agency may go through your books and records, talk to employees, and speak with customers. Some states, like Virginia, take an active approach to investigating and enforcing the regulations that auto dealers have to follow and have specific divisions of law enforcement dedicated to finding violations. Others rely mainly on customers making complaints to begin an investigation. If you have been notified that you are being investigated, contact the Lento Law Firm today to learn how to protect yourself.
The Dealer License Disciplinary Process
States have a serious interest in protecting their citizens from unscrupulous car sales. The industry has traditionally suffered from a negative reputation due to bad actors taking advantage of naïve customers, and states have stepped in and enacted many regulations to stop it. As a result, complaints against a vehicle dealer's license are taken seriously, and the licensing board or agency has broad powers to discipline auto dealers who break the rules.
Issues that can cause problems with a vehicle dealer's license can vary but generally fall into several categories:
- Violating state or federal laws regarding the sale of vehicles
- Selling from unlicensed locations or using unlicensed employees or agents
- Failing to pay appropriate fees to the state's Department of Motor Vehicles
- Failing to maintain required records or ledgers, or falsifying such records
- Other criminal convictions, especially those including driving violations, theft, fraud, or other breaches of trust
If you are accused of these or any other violations of your state's licensing regulations, the state will investigate. If the investigation finds evidence that you violated the rules, the state may have a hearing where you can present evidence in your defense. In some states, you may be offered a consent order which you can sign instead of having the hearing. The consent order is an admission of guilt according to the terms of the document. You should only sign a consent order if you understand what you are signing and have reviewed the terms of the document with an experienced legal defense professional like the team at the Lento Law Firm.
Consequences of a Vehicle Dealer License Investigation
Not every investigation leads to a suspension or revocation of a person's vehicle dealer license. Some investigations find that the auto dealer hasn't done anything wrong. Other minor violations may be punished with a fine. Fines are not as minor as they seem, however. Often fines become part of the public record that is associated with your dealership, and a record of fines can cast a negative light on your business.
You should never assume that the investigation into your dealership will result in light punishment. Licensing boards and agencies have broad powers to revoke a dealer's license for minor infractions and may do so if they believe it is in the public's best interest. Your only chance to defend yourself may be at a hearing where the stakes are high. Having the Lento Law Firm's team of experienced legal professionals on your side during this process can give you an invaluable advantage that safeguards your investment in your career.
Help With Vehicle Dealer License Defense Issues
Running a successful auto dealership requires dedicating years of time and thousands of dollars to your business. If your dealership is being investigated for wrongdoing, protect your investment and contact the Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm today. We are available to help vehicle dealers nationwide defend their reputations and their businesses from charges by state licensing boards and agencies.
The team at the Lento Law Firm will help you create the most compelling case to protect your rights and will guide you through the process from beginning to end. Call 888-535-3686 or contact us online and retain the Lento Law Firm today.