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  • Writer's pictureLuis Baez

Will I lose my Real Estate License because of a DWI or other Criminal Charge?

Will I lose my Real Estate License because of a DWI or other Criminal Charge?

Here is the bottom line: The TREC could initiate proceedings for a DWI but it is not always done. If you are a current real estate license holder through the Texas Real Estate Commission, you must do everything in your power to avoid a felony conviction or a conviction of any kind that involves an element of fraud to prevent disciplinary action taken against your license. If you are thinking about applying for a license, you should know that although there is no conviction that would automatically bar your application, you will need to present appropriate mitigation material to explain your background at the time you submit your application.

Back in 2009, in the movie “I Love You, Man” Paul Rudd plays a newly-engaged real estate agent looking to make male friends by going on “man-dates” after a conversation between him and his fiancée makes him realize that he has no one in his life to consider as his “best man” for the wedding. Unfortunately, for the rest of us in the real world, things do not always happen as neatly or consequence-free as they do in movies.

The amount of time and effort that goes into obtaining a professional real estate license from the Texas Real Estate Commission is significant. Like many other types of professional licenses granted by the State of Texas, a real estate license represents a formal acknowledgment from the State of Texas of your qualifications, background, and experience to pursue your career. But, right alongside that acknowledgment, the Texas Real Estate Commission imposes certain standards and rules when it comes to dealing with a real estate license holder (or applicant) who is facing a criminal charge.

If you are licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission as a real estate agent and find yourself facing a criminal charge in the State of Texas, it is very important that you find an attorney that can help you navigate the potential consequences a case can have on your license (or, better yet, how to avoid them). The same goes for anyone looking to apply for a real estate license that might already have a criminal charge on their record.

As former prosecutors, Brian Foley and Luis Baez know how to strategize and handle a criminal charge and negate or minimize its potential negative professional impacts on your life.

Because each person and case are different, this Article likely won’t be able to provide you with an exact answer on how a criminal charge could impact your real estate license. Although we aim to be as open and precise as possible, most of our conversations as attorneys start with “it depends,” and the same is true here. We encourage you to reach out to us to discuss your situation further so that we can get all the relevant information to provide you with a more specific type of legal advice.

But, just in case you are interested in reading further on the topic, below is a summary of the framework on how the Texas Real Estate Commission handles criminal charges. The general framework the Texas Real Estate Commission uses is “honesty, trustworthiness, and integrity.”

During the application process, the Texas Real Estate Commission will consider all: prior criminal offenses, unpaid judgments, disciplinary actions associated with professional or occupational licenses you hold, and performing unlicensed activity. As mentioned above, having a criminal offense on your record does not automatically disqualify an applicant from holding a license. The Commission must look at several factors to determine if an applicant is eligible for a license.

Specifically, the Commission will consider the listed factors in Section 53.023 of the Texas Occupations Code:

  • The extent and nature of the person's past criminal activity

  • The age of the person when the crime was committed

  • The amount of time that has elapsed since the person's last criminal activity

  • The conduct and work activity of the person before and after the criminal activity

  • Evidence of the person's rehabilitation or rehabilitative effort while incarcerated or after release

  • Evidence of the person's compliance with any conditions of community supervision, parole, or mandatory supervision

  • Other evidence of the person's fitness, including letters of recommendation.

In situations where someone who is already a license holder is facing a criminal charge, the Texas Real Estate Commission can only consider felonies and any offense involving fraud when determining what, if any, disciplinary action to take. If you end up with a conviction, you have 30 days of a final conviction or the entry of a plea of guilty or “nolo contender” to the felony or offense involving fraud to timely notify the Commission or else you can face additional discipline and an administrative penalty.

Remember, all of the above is only general information on the way a criminal charge could potentially impact a real estate license through the Texas Real Estate Commission. Each case and person is different. Although we can’t promise any appearances by Paul Rudd or Jason Segel, please reach out to us at Houston Criminal Defense Attorneys, PLLC if you have any questions.

For litigants who do not have counsel: Reading this blog post does not create an attorney client relationship. Call to set up a free consultation.

For the general public: This Blog/Web Site is for educational purposes only and it provides general information and a general understanding of the law, but does not provide specific legal advice. By using this site, commenting on posts, or sending inquiries through the site or contact email, you confirm that there is no attorney-client relationship created. Don't just read this as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney.

For attorneys: This Blog is informational and educational in nature and is not a substitute for Westlaw or other research and consultation on specific matters pertaining to your clients. As you know the law can change day to day based on recent case opinions. And unfortunately you shouldn't cite it in court as binding authority because it is not. Mention it to your friends, just seek real consultation if it’s something important.

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