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.
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