Our client disclosed a common misdemeanor conviction on an application for a California real estate salesperson's license. The California Department of Real Estate (DRE) asked our client for detailed information surrounding the conviction. Unfortunately, the arrest involved conduct of a sexual nature that is not reflected in the conviction. The good news is that the event happened many years ago when our client was very young.
Failing to truthfully disclose a criminal conviction is one of worst mistakes a license applicant can make. If a licensing agency (in this case the DRE) denies a license application because of a criminal conviction, the applicant may have a very strong case based on (1) the fact that the conviction is not substantially related to the qualifications, functions and duties of the profession, or (2) rehabilitation. But, dishonesty is a new ground for license denial, and it may detract from evidence of rehabilitation.
In this case, we helped our client make full disclosure, including the sexual nature of the conduct leading to the conviction, while also presenting evidence of mitigation and rehabilitation. In the end, the Department of Real Estate issued an unrestricted real estate salesperson's license to our client.
The following factors aided in the result:
- Honest disclosure;
- Many years passed since the conviction; and
- Evidence of responsibility and maturity since the incident.