Professional Licensing – Information Technology Businesses Beware! The Installation of CCTV and Security Systems Requires a State License

By Eric Marcy, Esq.

With the rapid advancement of technology, the concomitant reduction of cost, and increasing ease of installation of Closed-Circuit Television systems (“CCTV”) many local Informational Technology Companies have begun to dabble in installing CCTV monitoring as part of their product/service offerings.  The installation of “surveillance,” “security,” or CCTV monitoring equipment requires a state license.  The failure to have a license to install CCTV systems exposes one to investigation and prosecution by the Board which regulates alarm and locksmithing companies, the Fire Alarm, Burglar Alarm, and Locksmith Advisory Committee  (“the Committee”).

  • The Committee has the power to investigate the unlicensed practices relating to alarm and CCTV systems;
  • The Committee has the power to compel a written response to its inquiry;
  • The Committee has the power to issue subpoenas for records;
  • The Committee has the power to compel testimony under oath;
  • The Committee has the power to impose sanctions for violations;
  • IT businesses must cooperate in Board Investigations or face other/additional sanctions.

Information Technology companies that do not have the proper license should review and scrutinize its marketing materials to ensure that CCTV monitoring, surveillance and/or alarm services are not offered.  The application process and the requirements to obtain a license are quite substantial and complex.  The installation of systems falling within the scope of the Fire Alarm, Burglar Alarm, and Locksmith Advisory Committee without a license is an invitation to investigation and litigation.

A. JURISDICTION AND IDENTIFICATION OF THE FIRE ALARM, BURGLAR ALARM, AND LOCKSMITH ADVISORY COMMITTEE

N.J.S.A. 45:1-15. Boards and professions or occupations regulated by or through such boards; application of act

The provisions of this act shall apply to the following boards and all professions or occupations regulated by, through or with the advice of those boards: .  .  .  the Fire Alarm, Burglar Alarm, and Locksmith Advisory Committee, .  .  .  and any other entity hereafter created under Title 45 to license or otherwise regulate a profession or occupation.

B. POWER OF BOARDS TO SUBPOENA DOCUMENTS AND COMPEL TESTIMONY

N.J.S.A. 45:1-18. Investigative powers of boards, director, or attorney general New Jersey Statutes Annotated | Title 45. Professions and Occupations

Whenever it shall appear to any board, the director or the Attorney General that a person has engaged in, or is engaging in any act or practice declared unlawful by a statute or regulation administered by such board, or when the board, the director or the Attorney General shall deem it to be in the public interest to inquire whether any such violation may exist, the board or the director through the Attorney General, or the Attorney General acting independently, may exercise any of the following investigative powers:

a. Require any person to file on such form as may be prescribed, a statement or report in writing under oath, or otherwise, as to the facts and circumstances concerning the rendition of any service or conduct of any sale incidental to the discharge of any act or practice subject to an act or regulation administered by the board;

b. Examine under oath any person in connection with any act or practice subject to an act or regulation administered by the board;

c. Inspect any premises from which a practice or activity subject to an act or regulation administered by the board is conducted;

d. Examine any goods, ware or item used in the rendition of a practice or activity subject to an act or regulation administered by the board;

e. Examine any record, book, document, account or paper prepared or maintained by or for any professional or occupational licensee in the regular course of practicing such profession or engaging in such occupation or any individual engaging in practices subject to an act or regulation administered by the board. Nothing in this subsection shall require the notification or consent of the person to whom the record, book, account or paper pertains, unless otherwise required by law;

f. For the purpose of preserving evidence of an unlawful act or practice, pursuant to an order of the Superior Court, impound any record, book, document, account, paper, goods, ware, or item used, prepared or maintained by or for any board licensee in the regular course of practicing such profession or engaging in such occupation or any individual engaging in a practice or activity subject to an act or regulation administered by the board. In such cases as may be necessary, the Superior Court may, on application of the Attorney General, issue an order sealing items or material subject to this subsection;

g. Require any board licensee, permit holder or registered or certified person to submit to an assessment of skills to determine whether the board licensee, permit holder or registered or certified person can continue to practice with reasonable skill and safety; and

h. Whenever a board, the director through the Attorney General, or the Attorney General investigates a consumer complaint, the board, director or the Attorney General, as applicable, shall render a final disposition of the inquiry within 120 days of the filing of the complaint; except that the 120-day period shall be tolled, based upon the documented approval of the Attorney General or the Attorney General’s designee, whenever additional time is required: to obtain information, records or evidence sought pursuant to this section that is necessary for the investigation or disposition of the consumer complaint; for the board, director or the Attorney General, as the case may be, to consider additional information furnished more than 30 days after the filing of the complaint; to conduct an administrative hearing in a contested case; for expert consultation related to the subject matter under investigation; because a complaint is, or becomes, the subject of a criminal investigation or prosecution; or for other good cause shown due to extraordinary or unforeseen circumstances. The number of consumer complaints for which tolling of the 120-day period is approved shall be reported to the Attorney General monthly, and this information shall be provided to the Legislature on a semi-annual basis. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as affecting the jurisdiction of a board, the director through the Attorney General or the Attorney General.

To accomplish the objectives of this act or any act or regulation administered by a board, the Attorney General may hold such investigative hearings as may be necessary and the board, director or Attorney General may issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of any person or the production of books, records or papers at any such hearing or inquiry.

C. AUTHORITY OF BOARDS TO INVESTIGATE AND THE PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS

N.J.S.A. 45:1-18.2. Authority of boards and committees within the division to investigate allegations against persons engaged or engaging in the unauthorized practice of a profession or occupation regulated under the title; hearing; penalties for violations

a. The Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs or any board or committee within the division may exercise its investigative power pursuant to section 5 of P.L.1978, c. 73 (C.45:1-18) whenever there is reason to believe that there has been a violation of any applicable law or regulation by a person who:

(1) is not licensed, certified, or otherwise permitted by law or regulation to practice a profession or occupation and who represents to the public by any means, that he is able to practice a profession or occupation regulated under Title 45 of the Revised Statutes; or

(2) has engaged or is engaging in the unauthorized practice of a profession or occupation regulated under Title 45 of the Revised Statutes in violation of any law or regulation administered by the director or a board or committee within the Division of Consumer Affairs.

b. Any person who, following notice and a hearing, has been found to have engaged in the conduct specified in paragraph (1) or (2) of subsection a. of this section shall:

(1) immediately cease and desist from practicing that profession or occupation, as ordered by the director or a board or committee; and

(2) be liable to a penalty of not more than $10,000 for the first offense, and not more than $20,000 for each subsequent offense, to be recovered by the director or the board or committee within the Division of Consumer Affairs.

c. Any proceeding instituted pursuant to this section shall be in addition to any other proceeding authorized by section 10 of P.L.1978, c. 73 (C.45:1-23), or by any other law.

N.J.S.A. 45:1-19. Failure or refusal to file statement or report, refusal of access to premises or failure to obey subpena; penalty, New Jersey Statutes Annotated | Title 45. Professions and Occupations

If any person shall fail or refuse to file any statement or report or refuse access to premises from which a licensed profession or occupation is conducted in any lawfully conducted investigative matter or fail to obey a subpena issued pursuant to this act, the Attorney General may apply to the Superior Court and obtain an order:

a. Adjudging such person in contempt of court; or

b. Granting such other relief as may be required; or

c. Suspending the license of any such person unless and until compliance with the subpena or investigative demand is affected.

D. CONCLUSION

While Information Technology businesses may find the installation of CCTV and surveillance systems a natural extension of the services the business may offer, failure to have a proper license for such services will result in legal exposure and penalties.  Prior to any Information Technology firm from offering, marketing, or providing such services it should fully investigate the requirements necessary to allow it to provide such services.  IT companies would be well served to consult with counsel to review the proposed services and proposed marketing to ensure that the IT firm is not in violation of State law. 

REFERENCES:

N.J.S.A. 45:1-15. Boards and professions or occupations regulated by or through such boards; application of act

N.J.S.A. 45:1-18.2. Authority of boards and committees within the division to investigate allegations against persons engaged or engaging in the unauthorized practice of a profession or occupation regulated under the title; hearing; penalties for violations

N.J.S.A. 45:1-18.2. Authority of boards and committees within the division to investigate allegations against persons engaged or engaging in the unauthorized practice of a profession or occupation regulated under the title; hearing; penalties for violations

N.J.S.A. 45:1-19. Failure or refusal to file statement or report, refusal of access to premises or failure to obey subpoena; penalty, New Jersey Statutes Annotated | Title 45. Professions and Occupations

Application for Alarm License through the Division of Consumer Affairs.


Eric Marcy, Esq. has represented licensed professionals before a variety of licensing boards. If you have any concerns regarding your professional license, if you believe that a complaint or investigation may commence, or if you are with a notice of formal administrative action, contact Somerville professional license defense lawyer Eric Marcy, Esq. who is Of Counsel to Lyons & Associates, P.C. You can call 908-581-2388 (cell) or 908-575-9777 (office) or you may email him at [email protected]. Our offices are in Somerville and Morristown, New Jersey, and we proudly serve clients throughout New Jersey, including but not limited to Somerset County, Morris County, Middlesex County, Union County, Essex County, Bergen County, Hunterdon County, Warren County, Sussex County, Passaic County, and Monmouth County.