Real estate brokers and agents depend on their professional licenses to earn a living. However, the California Department of Real Estate may initiate an investigation that could lead to disciplinary action. If your ability to earn a living with your real estate license is in question, you cannot leave anything to chance. A license defense lawyer helps real estate professionals when they are facing potential disciplinary charges.
On your own, you may be subject to the DRE’s overreach or even a rush to judgment. Hiring a real estate license defense lawyer protects your rights and betters your chances of being able to maintain your license and reputation.
The lawyers at Unlock Legal know how to fight for you when it is necessary. We defend professionals in many areas, including real estate brokers, when their integrity or ability to perform their job has been challenged.
The California Department of Real Estate does not have the real estate agent’s best interests in mind. The Department may simply want to get what they think is a win and take some kind of action. You should never try to face the Department on your own. If you do, you may end up pressured into accepting a harsh agreement or not know how to effectively tell your side of the story. They will know that they need to cover all their bases when they see that you have hired an experienced license defense attorney. Boards and Departments throughout the state know Unlock Legal because they have often dealt with us in the past.
There are license defense attorneys that work with real estate agents to defend themselves when their competence or integrity is challenged. You may not stand the best chance when you try to defend yourself. When you hire a license defense lawyer, the DRE knows that they will need a very strong basis for taking action, and they are much more willing to talk during the process.
There is a process that must be followed when you are submitting a real estate license application. Not only must you fill out a complete application that discloses past convictions and pending criminal charges, but a prospective real estate broker or agent must also successfully complete an exam.
The DRE will sometimes reject a license application. In some cases, the DRE believes that the real estate agent applicant was not fully truthful or they failed to disclose something material (such as their criminal history). In other cases, they may take issue with the information included with your application.
If the DRE does not approve your real estate license application, they must inform you by filing a Statement of Issues that explains why your license application package could be rejected. You have the right to due process. Your license defense lawyer can tell your side of the story and why you deserve to be licensed. You also have the right to challenge the license denial all the way to court. Your contested application stands a much better chance of success when you have a license defense attorney.
The Department of Real Estate functions as a consumer protection agency. Its goal is to ensure that the public receives honest and competent services from real estate brokers.
In some cases, clients may file a complaint with the DRE about a particular broker. In other cases, the DRE could initiate its own investigation based on what it has learned or what the broker has reported.
You may be notified that you are the target of an investigation. If you are, it is essential that you contact an experienced licensed defense attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney may be able to speak with the DRE investigator to tell your side of the story before any charges can be filed. Your lawyer may even be able to head off any disciplinary action.
The DRE cannot take disciplinary action on its own. Legally, they are required to give you due process. Ultimately, if you cannot reach an agreement with the DRE, or they do not drop the charges, you are legally entitled to a hearing in front of an administrative law judge.
The DRE would need to prove the charges against you, and the judge would decide whether to impose disciplinary action. Your license defense attorney could call witnesses and present evidence that disputes the charges against you.
It is crucial that you hire a DRE license defense attorney to put forth your strongest possible defense.
The DRE must have a legally supported reason why it is trying to revoke or suspend your license. Some of these reasons may be based on what they think that a broker did in the course of their job. Other justifications could be for what may have happened when the broker is not on the job.
Here are some reasons why a license can be suspended or revoked:
A check of the DRE’s website shows dozens of enforcement actions each month. Each of these enforcement actions is publicly available. No matter what sanction has been levied, it will always affect your reputation, even if you are able to keep your license. Prospective clients can see that you were the subject of disciplinary action. Therefore, it is essential to get legal help to preserve your reputation.
If someone makes an allegation against you, the DRE may launch an investigation. The Department may even initiate its own investigation based on something that it learns through its own research.
The DRE, at its core, is a consumer protection agency that is tasked with ensuring that the people who are licensed to do busing with the public are honest, competent at their job, and safe. The agency does not want to put clients at risk of a physical attack or any sort of dishonest action.
While not every criminal conviction is grounds for you to lose your real estate license, certain convictions may be enough for your license to be suspended or revoked. One particular type of conviction that the DRE takes very seriously is any offense that involves honesty. The DRE believes that real estate brokers and agents that have a track record for fraudulent or deceitful actions may do something similar that could cost a client money.
In addition, the DRE is also concerned about agents or brokers who have a track record of violent or sexual offenses. Agents may need to be in a closed space with a client, and the DRE wants to protect the public.
The DRE may also be concerned with an offense that reveals a drug or alcohol problem. While not every DUI is enough for disciplinary action, repeated offenses could prompt the DRE to suspend or revoke a license. The DRE may require a license holder to go through a treatment program before they can resume doing business.
Whether the DRE launches an investigation for a conviction or allegation depends on the circumstances. Either way, you must report the conviction and hope that it does not cost you your profession. If you do not report the conviction, and the DRE learns of it, the failure to report alone could be grounds for disciplinary action.
When your California real estate license comes into question, you must do everything that you can to protect it. Not only is your license at stake, but your very professional reputation that you have spent years building is in jeopardy. Real estate disciplinary actions are in the public realm, and potential and current clients can see any punishment that has been handed to you. They are even able to see a censure. The best potential outcome depends on the facts of the case at hand. The one certainty is that you stand a better chance of achieving a successful outcome when you hire a real estate broker license defense attorney.
The attorneys at Unlock Legal work to defend professionals across California from allegations of misconduct when their license to do business is threatened. If you learn that you are being investigated, you cannot afford to be without a lawyer. We can get involved early in the process in the hopes of helping to deliver the best possible result. Our goal is to help you keep your license and your livelihood. To speak with a real estate broker license defense attorney, you can send us a message online or call us today at (949) 988-4444.