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2 dui's and a 3rd pending, can I still get a real estate broker license in California?

Los Angeles, CA |

First dui was in February 2005, second in January 2008 and third recently on July 2011. I am waiting for my court date Sept. 29th, but my attorney will push it back until he can build a case. I am trying everything in my power to rehabilitate and show the court. However it seems like i will get convicted for my third. I desperately want to study real estate, but want to know what my chances are before studying and applying for the license. Any feed back would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

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Attorney answers 2

Posted

As an attorney whose practice is exclusively the representation of California occupational and professional licensees and license applicants, I will be candid here and state unambiguously that obtaining a State occupational license of any kind with three relatively recent DUI's on your record will be a difficult effort. Obtaining a license from any California licensing agency will be difficult based on that record, and California's Dept of Real Estate can be one of the more rigid and unyielding of the State's licensing agencies.

If you are intent on making a real change in your life, including but not limited to pursuing a career in real estate, you need to consult with experienced licensing counsel as early as possible for advice about how to build a genuine record of rehabilitation that conforms precisely to the State's statutory factors evidencing rehabilitation. That record of rehabilitation will need to affirmatively show a profound change in your respect for and compliance with the law -- and not just the laws that may pertain to the specific tasks of real estate professionals. Among the evidentiary factors you will need to affirmatively demonstrate is satisfactory completion of a serious and meaningful formal alcohol rehab program (not necessarily in-patient), as well as completion of all outstanding probations. For further detailed discussion of the critical importance of building evidence of satisfying the statutory rehab factors before you apply for licensure, see the articles posted at http://www.licenseadvocates.com/blog110307.html and http://www.licenseadvocates.com/blog110123.html

Even with a solid record of rehabilitation, it is most likely that the Dept of Real Estate will issue only a restricted (probationary) license at your initial application. For some applicants, a probationary license is so restrictive and limited in its employment potential that it is not an acceptable result; others can make it work for a few years and then obtain an unrestricted license based on a solid work record and no further criminal charges.

Now, for a little necessary candor applicable directly to your individual facts: you write that you are "trying everything in my power to rehabilitate and show the court," but you are getting charged with DUI every three years. You have more and better power than that. Let us assume that you can obtain a (restricted) real estate Salesperson license sometime in 2012. What happens in 2014? DRE will revoke a license for DUI even more quickly than it will deny one on that basis. If you are going to make the personal and financial investment necessary to obtain a California State license, make a commitment at the same time to the kind of conduct that is required in order to keep it once it is issued.

My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as legal advice. I give legal advice only in the course of an attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by individual consultation and execution of a written agreement for legal services.

John M. Kaman

John M. Kaman

Posted

Just to reinforce Ms. Mccall's point, I represented a broker who got several traffic tickets for driving on a suspended license. The DRE revoked his license on that basis alone.

Posted

Nothing is impossible. You should demonstrate that you have taken efforts to rehabilitate, such as attending AA meetings, doing counseling, or attending a residential treatment program. You should also consider expunging your prior DUIs once you are off probation. It is essential that you do not obtain a fourth DUI. A fourth DUI in a ten year period would likely result in a felony. I would also contact the DRE and find out what efforts they feel would be appropriate.

Christine C McCall

Christine C McCall

Posted

No need to call DRE. They have published their statutory factors of rehabilitation online. Here is the link: http://www.dre.ca.gov/pdf_docs/excerpts2010.pdf The Guidelines are also set forth as statutes in the California Business and Professions Code. This area of law is very strictly regulated and there is little if any discretion afforded to DRE staff, even at the Deputy Commissioner level. One additional point:, there are no expungements in California law. There is a statutory process for post-conviction dismissal, Penal Code Section 1203.4. However, by express statutory provision, California licensing agencies, including DRE, are not barred from considering convictions that have been dismissed pursuant to 1203.4 P.C., and they do,in fact, require disclosure of dismissed convictions and take all dismissed convictions into account in the determination of license qualifications.

Thomas John Greenberg

Thomas John Greenberg

Posted

PC1203.4 does provide for partial expungement. It is written into the statute. While it does not guarantee removal of the conviction from background checks, nearly all regulatory agencies view partial expungement as a positive decision re a prior conviction. The DRE has broader discretion than you think. I know several persons who have obtained a real estate license with dui convictions and even prior felony convictions. PC1203.4 also has the power to reduce some felonies to misdemeanors pursuant to PC12(b).

Thomas John Greenberg

Thomas John Greenberg

Posted

(Typo--12(b) should have been written 17(b))

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