Applicant/Licensee: I’ve Been Convicted. When Does the CalBRE Get Involved?
As is set forth by the California Bureau of Real Estate, once CalBRE is certain that an applicant or licensee has been convicted of a crime that is substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of a real estate licensee, and the time for appeal has elapsed or the judgment of conviction has been affirmed on appeal, CalBRE can begin to obtain all the necessary evidence. Bureau investigators obtain copies of the reports generated from the arresting agencies and the certified records and pleadings of the subject court(s). These documents are necessary to prove up the crime and conviction at the Administrative Law Court proceedings. Once all documentation is received, CalBRE’s Legal Section prepares and files a formal legal pleading called a “Statement of Issues” against a license applicant whom the Legal Section has determined should not receive a real estate liense because of his or her crime. When a licensed broker or salesperson is convicted of a crime that is substantially related as identified above, CalBRE files an “Accusation” against his/her license. The applicant or licensee then has the option of proceeding to an administrative hearing where he or she can present a defense before an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”). With regard to a hearing based on criminal convictions, the ALJ will assess the nature, circumstances, and gravity of the crime or crimes for which the applicant or licensee was convicted, the time that has passed since the conviction and/or the completion of the sentence, and the rehabilitation efforts of the applicant or licensee.
After the hearing, the ALJ issues a proposed decision, which is subject to the Real Estate Commissioner’s approval. Discipline can range from outright denial or revocation to suspension of license rights of the granting of a restricted license, depending on the severity of the crime, and the rehabilitation efforts shown by the applicant or licensee.
For the same reasons stated above, the Bureau does not release information to the public on “complaints” or the “number of complaints” filed with the CalBRE against a licensee. Such complaints are only “bald” allegations and they are not (prior to substantiation through the investigatory process) reliable indicators that a licensee has violated the law.
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