I have a theft charge on my record from 2007 that was reduced to a misdemeanor by the court after a bit of research. Honestly, I was guilty by association. A person whom I was romantically involved with decided to steal from a department store and place these items in my bag while I was out of the dressing room, completely without my knowledge. When he was caught walking out of the store, I was detained andthe charge was split between the two of us due to the fact that he would not take full responsibility for his actions. I want to become a real estate agent very badly. It has always been a dream of mine. My question: what do I need to do from this point on? I dont want to spend the money on a test and be told that I can't certify due to an old charge that wasnt my fault to begin with.
DUI / DWI Attorney
You need to contact the real estate licensing entity and ask them whether it's an absolute bar. It may depend on whether you have a final conviction in the case. My understanding is they do not look fondly on crimes of moral turptitude.
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Administrative Law Lawyer
I was an enforcement attorney for the Texas Real Estate Commission and an administrative law judge with the State Office Of Administrative Hearings, where hearings on these applications are held now. I agree that the Commission will deem this conviction a crime of moral turptitude and then more specifically say that it "directly relates to the business of real estate sales" in that theft involves money and they believe you might handle funds entrusted to you as a licensed agent. If your crime was committed in 2007, then an administrative law judge would likely say that 2013 was too soon since your criminal act to show rehabilitation. You can explain the conviction, but the judge and the commission will be reluctant to go behind the finding of the criminal court judgment. So, time, letters of recommendation, and good clean living will be the only fix.
Having said that, it would not hurt to put your application together, wait until they deny it, set it for a hearing, tell your story to the judge, and wait for the "no" answer. That will at least give you a benchmark to show them your clean living the next time you apply (like maybe 3-5 years down the road). This all assumes that you have the requisite eduation courses. Those requirements have become significant in Texas. The cost of the aplication itself, that you discuss, is a relatively small part of your concern.