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Can I get a real estate license with my misdemeanor record expunged?

Los Banos, CA |

i had a misdemeanor (over 20 years ago) for not paying for an item (shoplifting) but it got expunged years ago due to a good moral character practice. I was at the wrong place with the wrong people but i had move on with my life that was my only incident with the law in my entire life. i am a 45 year old caring family man.

i live in California

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Attorney answers 1


Department of Real Estate will ordinarily issue an automatic denial to all California applicants with any theft history. However, if you pursue the administrative appeal process, DRE will often negotiate for the issuance of a restricted (probationary) license that will become unrestricted in 2 - 3 years. Moreover, if you press the appeal for an unrestricted license, there is sound case law authority that the age of your conviction is too great to support a license denial. But that issue will require engaging in the admin hearing process and legal counsel. For many RE salespersons, a restricted or probationary license is useless because the major brokers and brand name sales agencies cannot hire agents with restricted licenses because of the terms of their liability coverage. Don't accept a probationary license unless you know you can be employed even on restricted status. One of the conditions of probation is a certain amount of work per month or week in the licensed field. If you can't get hired, you can't meet the conditions of your probation, and so on -- vicious circle.

Applicants often assume that convictions subsequently dismissed pursuant to Penal Code sec 1203.4 cannot be used by State licensing agencies to deny a license. That is not the case.

DRE can be very rigid and unyielding, even by the standards for State bureaucrats. DRE denied a license to an amputee military veteran with a spotless record except for a 38-year old misdemeanor theft conviction that had been dismissed 20 years prior.

With this agency in particular,applicants need to be mentally and financially primed for a fight. DRE only reacts to push-back.

No legal advice here. READ THIS BEFORE you contact me! My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as if they were legal advice. I give legal advice ONLY in the course of a formal 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 joint execution of a written agreement for legal services. My law firm does not provide free consultations. Please do not call or write to me with a “few questions” that require me to analyze the specific facts of your history and your license application and prescribe for you how to get a State license. Send me an email to schedule a paid Consultation for that kind of information, direction, and assistance. My law firm presently accepts cases involving State and federal licenses and permits; discipline against State and federal licenses; and disciplinary and academic challenges to universities, colleges, boarding schools, and private schools. We take cases of wrongful termination or employment discrimination only if the claims involve peace officers, universities or colleges.

William A. Jones Jr.

William A. Jones Jr.


Ms. McCall is the CA expert in this area of the law.

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