Do you have a rap sheet? So do approximately one in three Americans, so you’re not alone.
This summer, a new law went into effect that could help you earn that business or professional license you seek. We wrote about it in January 2019, but now that it’s effective, here’s more food for thought.
It matters more now whether you’ve expunged your conviction. For the most part, you can no longer be denied a license due to a conviction—or due to conduct underlying a conviction—that a court has expunged or dismissed or from which you’ve otherwise demonstrated rehabilitation.
It matters now if it’s been more than seven years since your conviction. You can no longer be denied a license on the basis of that conviction, even if you haven’t expunged it. Actually, the rule is seven years from conviction or your release from incarceration (if any), whichever is later. This look-back period also applies to any formal discipline by a licensing board. But it does not apply to convictions for serious felonies or serious sex offenses. Nor does it apply to white-collar felonies that are directly and adversely related to licensing as an accountant, fiduciary, general contractor, private investigator, funeral director, cemetery manager, or real-estate agent.
There’s more teeth to the basic rule that a conviction must be “substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties” of the business or profession to justify denial. A licensing board must take a harder look at the relationship, if any, between your conviction and the business or profession you aspire to. It must consider how long ago it was even if it’s less than seven years. And it must consider evidence of your rehabilitation, especially if you successfully completed your sentence without incident.
Have you paid your proverbial debt to society? We’re proud to help you chase your dream if we can.