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Orlando Criminal Defense Lawyer > Blog > Criminal > Can a Criminal Conviction in Florida Bar Me From Licensed Occupations?

Can a Criminal Conviction in Florida Bar Me From Licensed Occupations?


An often overlooked consequence of a criminal conviction is the potential impact on your job or occupation. Obviously, if you are an “at-will” employee working for a private employer, you can be fired at any time with or without cause. And since a criminal conviction is a matter of public record, it is not something you will be able to conceal from your employer and may lead to your termination.

Another consideration, however, is that a criminal conviction can actually bar you from certain occupations requiring professional licensure from the state. For example, Florida permanently bars anyone convicted of a capital or first-degree felony from holding an insurance agent’s license. Even other crimes involving “moral turpitude” carry a 15-year licensing ban, while most other felonies carry a 7-year ban. And even after the disqualification period expires, a person applying for a real estate license with a criminal record must demonstrate they have been “rehabilitated” and do not pose a threat to the “insurance-buying public.”

Appeals Court Declines to Find Jockey Eligible for License

Even where state officials have the discretion to waive a licensing disqualification based on a criminal conviction, the applicant faces an uphill battle. Consider this recent decision from the Florida Fifth District Court of Appeal, Zimmerman v. State. This case involves an applicant who sought a license to work as a horse jockey. The Florida Gaming Control Commission denied the application based on the applicant’s two prior criminal convictions for grand theft in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

The law allows the Commission to waive a criminal conviction disqualification if the applicant establishes they are “of good moral character” and have been “rehabilitated,” among other requirements. Here, the Commission found the applicant did not meet this burden. In particular, a hearing officer for the Commission determined the applicant committed his crimes during a time when he “was on a horrific diet, which ultimately led to an eating disorder” and substance abuse, all in an attempt to lower his weight and “improve as a jockey.”

On appeal, the Fifth District upheld the Commission’s decision to deny the applicant’s waiver. The Court said there was “competent substantial evidence” to support the Commission’s findings. And the applicant’s main argument in support of his appeal–that there were prior Commission decisions inconsistent with the one in his case–was without merit.

Contact the Joshi Law Firm Today

If you work in any profession that requires a state license, you need to consider all of your options when faced with a serious criminal charge that could affect your ability to continue working in that field. Even a conviction of a white collar charge like fraud may permanently bar you from certain professions. So it is best to work with an experienced Orlando criminal defense attorney, who can review your case and help you in devising a course of action. Contact the Joshi Law Firm, PA, today to schedule a free consultation.




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