Can You Get a Georgia Real Estate License with Violations such as Felony, Misdemeanor, or DUI?

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Having a criminal record should not deter you from applying for a Georgia real estate license.

While it may be harder to get a license, as long as you know the rules and fully disclose all information related to your criminal history, the process won’t feel that complicated.

Keep reading to learn exactly what you must do to meet the qualifications for a real estate license in Georgia with prior convictions on your record.


Should I Pass a Background Check for a Georgia Real Estate License?

Passing a background check is a required component of the real estate licensing process in Georgia.

You must answer questions related to your prior convictions, as well as disclose any disciplinary action you received from the Georgia Real Estate Commission.

For Georgia residents, a background check requires a Georgia Crime Information Center (GCIC) report.

Any local police station or sheriff’s department can provide you with this report. In order to remain valid, the report cannot be more than 60 days old. The report costs up to $25.

For non-Georgia residents applying for a Georgia real estate license, you’ll need a similar report from your current state of residency.

You can also submit a National Crime Information Center (NCIC) report.

In addition to the formal report, you must disclose any conviction, nolo contendere plea, or fist offender sentence that’s not already listed.

To submit the report, combine it with the Background Clearance Application.

This application, and your supporting documents, must either get mailed or delivered to the Investigations Section of the Georgia Real Estate Commission and Appraisers Board.

A faxed application will not be accepted.

Georgia real estate laws state that licenses are only granted to “persons who bear a good reputation for honesty, trustworthiness, integrity, and competence to transact real estate brokerage activity and/or business of a licensee in such a manner as to safeguard the interests of the public…”

Having a complete background check for each licensee helps maintain this law.


Can You Get a Real Estate License in Georgia with a Felony?

If you have a single felony conviction or a crime of moral turpitude conviction, you cannot apply to become among the licensed real estate agents in Georgia.

You cannot do so until two years have passed since the completion of all the terms related to your sentence.

For multiple felonies or crimes of moral turpitude convictions, you must wait five years before applying for a Georgia real estate license.

If you’re interested in getting your broker license, the wait period is 10 years.

After the wait period concludes, you may still apply for your real estate license in Georgia. Each application is reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the Georgia Real Estate Commission.

They’ll look at the circumstances surrounding your specific case and make a decision whether to accept or deny your application.

Specific crimes that may lead to a denial of your application include those associated with forgery, embezzlement, theft, and extortion.

If you’ve failed to complete your sentence, you may also have your application denied.

The Georgia Real Estate Commission typically prefers you to make full restitution for your crime before accepting your real estate license application.


Can You Get a Real Estate License with a Misdemeanor in Georgia?

In Georgia, misdemeanors are less severe than felonies. For that reason, there are most likely fewer misdemeanor charges that may lead to a denial of your real estate license application.

Only about 15% of applicants are denied because of their criminal record.

The trick is to fully disclose all relevant information from the start, be forthcoming when asked for additional documentation, and provide strong character letters.

Every applicant has to submit three letters to serve as character references should you have any conviction on your record. What’s important is who these letters are from.

While your family and friends may be quick to support you, their letters are often less effective than one from a more professional source.

Consider asking a business associate, who’s already aware of the conviction, to write at least one character reference letter to help strengthen your case.

Although misdemeanors are less severe, applications with this type of conviction may get denied for the same reasons as those applying with a felony.

This includes failure to complete your sentence, as well as crimes associated with moral turpitude, such as forgery, embezzlement, theft, and extortion.


Can You Get a Real Estate License with a DUI in Georgia?

It’s infrequent that a DUI will prevent you from getting a real estate license in Georgia. This is because most DUI convictions are misdemeanors.

The crime only escalates to a felony charge under very specific circumstances.

If you get a fourth DUI within a 10-year period, the charge then becomes a DUI Georgia felony. Any additional DUIs within that period will also carry the felony charge as well.

Even at this stage, though, you can get a real estate license if you have a DUI. You’ll have to wait the two-year period before applying.

Since this specific crime isn’t linked to moral turpitude, review of your application by the Commission may still end in your favor.


Tips for Applying for a Georgia Real Estate License with Criminal Record or Misdemeanor

Based on how seriously the Georgia Real Estate Commission values the character of those applying for a real estate license, it’s important you follow these tips when completing your background check application.

  • Make sure all previous convictions, no matter the status, are included in your report. The report must include those charges where you were pardoned.
  • Include all pertinent information regarding your criminal record that doesn’t appear on the official report.
  • Respond in a timely manner should the Commission ask for follow-up documentation related to your background.
  • For every charge, make sure the appropriate documents are included with your initial application. These include certified copies of the citation that led to the conviction and of the sentence or final disposition.
  • You must also include a written statement that shares the circumstances of the charge. In addition, this statement must mention whether you’ve made any/all required restitution and if you’ve completed all conditions of your sentence, including your parole or probation period.

Withholding any of this information could lead to a denial of your license application on those grounds alone.


Survey of Experts

Is it more challenging to get a real estate license with violations on one’s record?

Do you know any people who got a real estate license with violations on their record?

Expert Insight

Give advice to people with violations on their record to successfully get licensed.

Contact the real estate state license bureau for your state with any questions to get a clear and accurate understanding of violations and what you will need to do prior to taking the test.

Make sure you know the dates and type of violation, charges, and convictions, so they can give you accurate info.

Andrea Shields, Keller Williams Realty River Cities, Realtor

Speak to the state real estate commission ahead of paying for and starting the coursework.

Most states have a review board. If someone is concerned that their violation may be of concern, get clearance ahead of starting the process.

Jenny Heins, From Dream To Key, Co-Founder

Please make sure you do extensive research. I’d hate for you to go through all of that to not even be able to get your license.

Kumynie Harvin, Keller Williams Atlanta Midtown, Realtor

Do some research on the matter. See what your state says about the violations you have. Call your local real estate board and see what they say.

Stephen Kontoes, Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Partners, Real Estate Agent

Can I Appeal the Commission’s Negative Decision?

You do have the ability to appeal a denial of your real estate license application in Georgia. However, cases of this type aren’t often won.

To appeal the decision of the Commission, you can request an appeal hearing with the Office of the State Administrative Law Judge. They’ll hear your case and make a final ruling.


Can a Real Estate License Be Suspended or Revoked Because of a Violation Committed After Receiving It?

The same parameters that may hinder an applicant from getting their Georgia real estate license apply to license disqualification.

Although not always permanent, committing the crimes mentioned above, even those that only require a waiting period, will lead to your real estate license getting revoked 60 days after the conviction.

The only way to possibly prevent this from happening is to request a hearing with the Commission within that 60-day period.

Other offenses not mentioned above that could lead to license suspension include issues around child support and defaulting on a loan.

In both of these cases, the hearing and appeal procedures are the same as if you were dealing with a prior conviction.


Additional Information

Passing a background check is just one of the many requirements you should accomplish when applying for a real estate license in the Peach State.

For a complete list of the prerequisites, read our guide on How to Get a Real Estate License in Georgia.

You should also check out our article on how much a Georgia real estate license costs to help you set a reasonable budget for all your licensing requirements.

For an estimated timeline of getting a license in the state, read our article on this topic – How Long Does It Take to Get a Real Estate License in Georgia?

Pre-licensing education, for example, is a requirement, so you should be enrolled in one of the best real estate schools in Georgia to complete your courses.

Take note that real estate classes come in a traditional or online format.

Our video guide comparing the pros and cons of online real estate classes vs classroom courses can help when deciding which one fits your schedule best.

Once you’ve completed your pre-licensing education, you will have to make preparations for taking the real estate exam.

Know what it takes to pass the Georgia real estate exam for the first time. Additionally, we have tips on studying for the real estate exam.


Survey of Experts

How difficult was it for you to study and pass the Georgia real estate license exam?

How many attempts did it take you to pass your real estate license exam?

When you pass the exam, you will definitely want to work in the business immediately.

It’s important to choose among the top real estate brokerages in Georgia that can help you learn the ropes as a newbie agent.

Read our article on choosing the right real estate brokerage to work for as a new agent to make the best decision.

As a licensed Georgia real estate agent, a world of opportunities await you to become successful in your field.

It’s best to know what to do after passing the real estate exam and take a cue from the experiences of established agents who took on a real estate agent job as a career.

This way, you can navigate the industry more effectively.

Don’t forget to join a real estate team. The nuggets of wisdom you can learn from more experienced agents will prove useful when running your own real estate business.

To help you build and grow your real estate career quickly, we at Real Estate Bees created a directory for real estate professionals.

It’s designed to help you get more exposure for your business, including receiving leads. Create a free profile by signing up here.


If you want to contribute your expert advice on a topic of your expertise, feel free to apply to our Expert Contributor Program.


About the Author

Kristina Morales is a REALTOR® with over 20 years of professional experience. She actively practices real estate in Ohio but also has practiced real estate in California and Texas. Conducting her real estate business in three states has allowed her to gain unique experiences that make her a well-rounded realtor. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Business Management and her MBA with a concentration in Banking and Finance. Prior to real estate, Kristina had an extensive corporate career in banking and treasury. She ended her finance career as an Assistant Treasurer at a publicly traded oil & gas company in Houston, TX.

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