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DUI Consequences for California Real Estate Agents

It can make sense to have additional restrictions or sanctions for professional drivers who get a DUI. There may also be an argument for restrictions for doctors, nurses, or pilots who get arrested for drunk driving in California. However, real estate agents may be surprised to find out they are facing a denial of their real estate license related to a DUI conviction.

The penalties for a DUI in California can be harsh. Sentencing for a misdemeanor charge for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can include: 

However, there are collateral consequences that may impact your job and reputation. Even a first-time DUI will lead to a criminal record. DUI convictions can show up on a background check and DMV records. For real estate agents, a DUI can result in licensing penalties. 

DUI Reporting Requirements for Real Estate Agents in California

According to the State of California Department of Real Estate (DRE), applicants and licensees have a duty to report a criminal conviction. This includes California Vehicle Code Section 23152 VC for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.   

Under the California Code of Regulations Title 10, Section 2910, the Department of Real Estate can consider criminal convictions when determining whether a license should be denied, suspended, or revoked. However, the crime or act has to be “substantially related” to the qualifications, functions, or duties of a licensee. This includes criminal offenses involving fraud, counterfeiting, bribery, or dishonesty. 

A crime can also be deemed to be substantially related if it involves, “two or more convictions involving the consumption or use of alcohol or drugs when at least one of the convictions involve driving and the use or consumption of alcohol or drugs.”

What If the DUI Conviction Happened Years Ago?

There is not a time limit for when the DRE can consider a criminal conviction. For example, the DRE could deny a real estate license if you got one drunk driving offense 20 years ago and a second DUI 10 years ago. However, the department can take into consideration the context of the criminal charges, which can go to, “the question of the weight to be accorded to the crime or acts in considering the action to be taken with respect to the applicant or licensee.”

A DUI conviction is not an automatic bar to getting a real estate license in California. Current licensees may still be able to keep their real estate license after a drunk driving conviction. The Department of Real Estate can allow an applicant to get a real estate license if the applicant is considered rehabilitated for the purposes of issuing or reinstating a license. 

Under the California Code of Regulations Title 10, Section 2911, factors that the DRM can consider in rehabilitation include:

  • The time that has elapsed since commission of the acts or offenses (generally, at least 2 or more years after the most recent criminal conviction)
  • Restitution to any person who suffered monetary loss
  • Expungement of criminal convictions
  • Successful completion of probation or parole
  • Abstinence from the use of controlled substances and/or alcohol for not less than two years if the conduct is attributable in part to the use of controlled substances and/or alcohol
  • Payment of fines
  • Involvement in community, church, or programs designed to provide social benefits
  • Change in attitude from what which existed at the time of the conduct, which can include testimony or evidence from friends or family members

Avoid Discipline by Avoiding a Criminal Conviction

Instead of worrying about how long it will take to get your real estate license back after multiple drunk driving charges, you can avoid the issue by avoiding a conviction. An arrest for a DUI is not a conviction and you may have strong legal defenses on your side. Talk to an experienced East Bay DUI defense lawyer about the legal defense strategies available in your case. 

Lack of Probable Cause to Make an Arrest

In order to make a traffic stop in California, the police must have reasonable suspicion that a crime has taken place or will take place. Reasonable suspicion allows the police to make a temporary stop to conduct further investigation. However, to make an arrest, the police need probable cause that the driver has committed a crime. 

If the law enforcement officer did not have reasonable suspicion to justify the traffic detention, then evidence obtained as a result of the unlawful stop may be suppressed. Ask your Alameda County DUI defense lawyer about challenging probable cause in a drunk driving arrest

Inaccurate Blood Alcohol Test

There can be lots of problems with chemical tests that give inaccurate results. A breath test sample or blood test draw can show the wrong estimated blood alcohol content (BAC), which could show an innocent driver to be over the limit. Problems with chemical testing include: 

  • Police not following proper testing procedure
  • Contamination
  • Uncalibrated testing machines
  • Lack of testing machine maintenance
  • Mixing up test samples

DUI Help for East Bay Real Estate Agents

East Bay attorney Lynn Gorelick has more than 38 years of DUI experience and understands the consequences involved for professional licensing after a DUI arrest.  Representing real estate professionals in Contra Costa and Alameda County, Lynn Gorelick is familiar with the local DUI laws, and the local officers and prosecutors involved. Contact East Bay DUI lawyer Lynn Gorelick today.

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