How will a DUI effect my real estate license in California?
The California Bureau of Real Estate (BRE, formerly called the ‘DRE’ for ‘Department of Real Estate’) regulates the issuance of Real Estate Broker and Salesperson licenses. These licenses are needed for various professions in the real estate field, such as real estate agent, professional property manager or mortgage sales. The BRE’s primary task is one of consumer protection: to ensure that people (consumers) hiring real estate agents and brokers are treated with competence and in a professional manner.
DUI’s can mean substance abuse/alcohol problems:
Gambling, financial problems, criminal dealings involving fraud or dishonesty are issues that the BRE looks for and will deny or revoke a real estate license if they are found. This is to ensure real estate professionals with serious criminal issues do not harm the public in real estate transactions.
A real estate license holder with a DUI or multiple DUI’s could have a substance abuse or alcohol problem. Because of this, the BRE will look closely at a license holder or applicant with a DUI or multiple DUI convictions. Again, the reason for this is the BRE wants to ensure agents and brokers do not have these problem areas in their professional lives so that the real estate consumers are better protected.
So what does a DUI have to do with a real estate license?
The California BRE gets its authority from of statutes: the main rules governing how the BRE carries out its consumer protection. The two main sources for laws governing the BRE are the California Government Code and the Business and Professions Code.
Under Business and Professions Code 10177 , the Bureau of Real Estate can suspend or revoke a license holder’s license if they:
“Entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendre or been found guilty or been convicted of a felony or a crime substantially related to the qualifications, functions or duties of a real estate licensee.”
Based on a plain language reading of this, it is clear that all felonies are fair game for the BRE to look at and use as a justification to suspend someone’s BRE license. Again, looking at the language of the statute, other crimes (non-felonies) that are “substantially related” to the carrying out of a license holder’s duties are fair game for the BRE.
Does a DUI count as a crime substantially related to the qualifications, functions and duties of a real estate license holder?
A DUI conviction can be found to be substantially related to the license holder’s duties/functions if it shows an underlying substance abuse problem. Examples include: multiple DUI convictions(2 or more) within the last 10 years, DUI’s involving a high blood alcohol level (0.15%) and cases involving illicit drugs.
When dealing with administrative bodies, such as the BRE, government agencies that regulate similar conduct have found these types of DUI situations to be indicative of a substance abuse problem. The more variables or “aggravating” factors in a case, the more likely the BRE will be concerned someone has a substance abuse problem. Where there are real substance abuse issues, the BRE is more likely to take action.
If you have a DUI arrest in your past, or multiple DUI arrests and you have questions about how that will effect your real estate license, call an attorney who regularly deals with these license issues and see how you can learn more about how to effectively deal with your situation.