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Real Estate Broker Discipline and Criminal Convictions in California

Real Estate Broker Discipline and Criminal Convictions in California

Real estate brokers in California who get convicted of a crime face the possibility of disciplinary proceedings by the Department of Real Estate (DRE). This can result in the broker’s license getting suspended or possibly revoked.

A criminal record can also stop a person from even getting a broker’s license. Any applicant who has been convicted of a crime within the last seven years may be denied if the case was substantially relating to brokering duties, like fraud.  Certain criminal convictions of any age can an disqualify applicant.

Spodek Law Group’s our California Criminal Defense Lawyers are at your service. We are criminal defense attorneys with years of experience and a proven track record.   If you are facing criminal charges and professional discipline, or if you have questions after reading this article, you should contact us for a consultation.

George FernandezGeorge Fernandez
14:16 30 Apr 24
Excellent 10 out of 10, Helped resolve my case. Jeremy explained everything and made everything easy to understand.
21:33 24 Apr 24
If you are looking for a lawyer that listens, is aggressive where needed, and holds his word above all else, Todd is the best pick. I had hired multiple attorneys prior to hiring the Spodek Group for a white collar case. The first thing that stood out to me was the cost, as anyone going through the process and dealing with the system, money was tight at that time - especially after hiring and firing multiple lawyers. The cost was not as high as others which was definitely a plus. Todd's intake process was also unlike other attorneys. He took the time to actually listen. He cared. He was trying to put himself in my shoes while I was explaining the situation to him and he really took the time to understand the whole situation. Other lawyers will give you 15 mins and send you a retainer agreement. Not Todd, I think he spent almost two hours with me as I was explaining everything.Not only was he great during the onboarding process, he was supportive and very informative through the entire plea process and eventually sentencing. After hiring him, I asked if I should hire a prison consultant, he told me to save my money as he would do everything they would. He was right and held up to his word. Later on I would hear from others that went with the prison consultants that they were a waste of money - I am glad I listened to Todd!When it came time for sentencing, two days prior to sentencing, the prosecutor tried increasing my proposed prison time by almost double - apparently a normal move. Todd and his team worked with me non-stop through the weekend prior to sentencing to ensure that I was not given additional prison time. Again, he took the time to listen and came up with a strategy to explain the case with great detail.Unfortunately, I did plead guilty as that was my best option. Todd and his whole team wrote up nearly 300 pages of a summary of what happened and why I should not be given prison time. If I breakdown the amount I spent with Todd versus the amount of work that I saw being done, I am shocked I was not charged four times as much. The other benefit was, a lot of criminal defense lawyers were just a single attorney with a paralegal or two. Todd had a team of people that I dealt with (5-7 people that I interacted with), but he was ALWAYS accessible. It would never take him more than an hour to reply unless he was in court.I was sentenced to prison and I was emotionally distraught. Todd and his team did whatever they could even after sentencing to make sure I was alright. He personally stayed in touch with my family to ensure I was doing alright and offered support to them. Most lawyers would consider the job complete at sentencing, not Todd.After prison, Todd still spent time with me to make sure I was on the right track and avoiding any potential risks in the future. He has also been giving advice on how to navigate probation etc and has not been looking at the clock for billing.Although I wish I had never been arrested in the first place, I am glad I had Todd and his team in my corner. Without them I likely would have had to spend a lot more time in prison than I did.Thank you, Todd, and the entire Spodek Law team, for helping turn what was a nightmare into a manageable situation!
Yelva Saint-PreuxYelva Saint-Preux
19:26 19 Apr 24
I am immensely grateful to the entire team at Spodek Law Group for their unwavering dedication and exceptional expertise throughout my case. From our initial consultation to the final resolution, their professionalism and tireless advocacy made all the difference. Their strategic approach and attention to detail instilled confidence in me every step of the way.Thanks to their hard work and commitment, we achieved a truly favorable outcome that exceeded my expectations. Not only did they navigate the complexities of my case with precision, but they also provided invaluable support and guidance during what was undoubtedly a challenging time. I cannot recommend Spodek Law Group highly enough, especially attorneys Todd Spodek and Claire Banks; they are beacons of excellence in the legal profession.YSP.
Katherine SunKatherine Sun
18:08 18 Apr 24
my lawyer is Alex Zhik. Efficient, patient and professional
Nun yaNun ya
17:48 18 Apr 24
Todd, Ralph and Alex are amazing. Helped my husband get from a double digit number with multiple charges to a single digit, by the time I blink he will be out. They very professional and help with all your needs. They dealt with my anxiety and worry very well and they understand that your family member needs to get home as soon as possible.
Keisha ParrisKeisha Parris
20:45 15 Mar 24
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko BeautyTaïko Beauty
16:26 15 Mar 24
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence.Thank you team!
K MarK Mar
01:37 25 Jan 24
I recently had Spodek Law Group represent me for a legal matter in NYC and I am thoroughly impressed with their services.Alex Zhik secured the best possible outcome for my case.It was a seamless journey from the initial consultation to the resolution of my legal matter. From the moment I spoke to Todd about my case, his enthusiasm to help was evident, setting a positive tone for the entire experience. The efficiency and professionalism displayed by the team is commendable.A particularly noteworthy aspect of their service is their user-friendly portal to upload your documents/evidence. This not only simplified the process, but showcases their commitment to streamline the client experience.Lastly, in an industry where legal fees can often be a concern, I found their pricing to be very reasonable, making needing legal assistance feel accessible and stress-free.I am grateful for their support and wouldn't hesitate to turn to them again in the future.

In this article, we will teach you about:

  1. What regulating body covers real estate brokers in the state of California?
  2. What is the department’s perception of a conviction?
  3. How is a conviction classified as “substantially related”?
  4. Will I be able to fight for my real estate license?
  5. Can I apply the 7-year rule in my case?

What regulating body covers real estate brokers in the state of California?

There are more than 450,000 real estate brokers, agents and salespeople in California.  They all fall under the watchful eye of The Department of Real Estate (DRE). The department’s goal is to protect the public in real estate transactions.  Under the leadership of a commissioner, the DRE conducts licensee discipline in accordance with real estate laws and regulations.

What is the department’s perception of a conviction?

For DRE purposes, a conviction can include a guilty plea or verdicts.  Additionally “no contest” pleas also fall in range, as do convictions that have been expunged.

How is a conviction classified as “substantially related”?

In simple terms, a conviction that is “substantially related” to the qualifications, functions or duties of a real estate licensee can warrant disciplinary action.  Beyond this, no precise, concrete definition of “substantially related” exists.   Nonetheless, an experienced attorney can rely upon regulations and case law for guidance in your matter.

Driving and Abuse of Controlled Substances

Any conviction involving drugs and alcohol also can be problematic. DRE regulations state that two or more criminal convictions involving the consumption or use of alcohol or drugs can be counted when at least one of those convictions involves driving.

Sex Offenders

The Commissioner’s regulations also include in the “substantially related” category convictions that involve “sexually related conduct affecting a person who is an observer or non-consenting participant in the conduct or convictions which require registration pursuant to the provisions of Section 290 of the Penal Code.”

The Role of Rehabilitation in Real Estate Broker Discipline

The Commissioner of the DRE is obligated to look at evidence that the licensee in question has been rehabilitated.  Factors include but are not limited to expungement, payment of restitution, and any programs and courses.

Title 10 of the California Code of Regulations provides a comprehensive list of rehabilitation criteria.

The California Criminal Defense Team at Spodek Law Group can help you devise an effective “rehabilitation” plan to demonstrate to the Commissioner that you have changed and are now fit to practice.

Will I be able to fight for my real estate license?

Indeed you can fight for your license.  Just as in real estate transactions, sound strategy and tactical negotiation are keys to succeeding in your case.  Along the same vein, having a strong criminal defense team on your side is just as important as having a knowledgeable broker when dealing in real estate.

Can I apply the 7-year rule in my case?

It can apply, but there are exceptions.  Certain crimes can draw disciplinary action no matter how old they are.  These include (but are not limited to) such serious offenses as burglary, assault, murder, rape, arson and weapons offenses.   You have the right to appeal any decision the Commissioner hands down.

Apart from these, the DRE may not deny brokers licenses to persons with criminal convictions that are older than seven as long as the applicant completed all their sentencing requirements

Contact Spodek Law Group for more information and to schedule your free consultation.

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