Historically, it was extremely difficult, if not impossible, to get a professional licensure of any kind with a criminal record in the state of California. The Fair Chance for Occupational Licensing Act (FCOLA) or AB 2138, signed into law in 2018 and effective as of July 2020, made it easier for Californians with a criminal record to obtain various vocational and professional licenses.
Under AB 2138, many of the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Boards, and other Boards that follow Business and Professions Code 480, are only allowed to consider certain convictions when deciding whether to approve or deny a person’s license application in California. Board members may consider:
- Convictions that occurred within the last seven years.
- Certain felony convictions (serious, financial, etc.) and convictions requiring Tier 2 or Tier 3 sex offender registration.
- Convictions substantially relating to the job qualifications or duties required of a person with that specific license.
Generally, the ‘seven-year rule’ states that a Board cannot deny a license based on criminal conviction that is seven years old or older, unless it falls under one of the exceptions listed. However, it is important to note that the seven-year rule does not apply to the decision of whether to suspend or revoke an existing license.
Under AB 2138, many California residents with criminal convictions on their records have been able to obtain a job-related license. However, some people face more challenges than others due to the severity of their criminal convictions and other factors. An attorney specializing in criminal records and licensing may be able to help you obtain the license you need to move forward in your career.