Reporting a DUI

Real estate licensees have 30 days from a criminal conviction to report to the Real Estate Commission. This holds true for guilty pleas and the entry of plea of nolo contendere. This is not difficult to understand although there is confusion surrounding some offenses that receive special treatment. Driving under the influence ("DUI") and several other potential misdemeanors may be routed through the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition ("ARD") which provides a unique opportunity for offenders to avoid prosecution.

The ARD program is generally only eligible to first-time offenders and not available for more serious crimes or if the DUI resulted in injury or death. The other qualifications for program admission are beyond the scope of this article.

One who is accepted into the ARD program will not plead guilty nor be convicted. Rather, in the case of a DUI, there will be a loss of a driver's license, classes to take and entry into a formal monitoring program. Ultimately, if one completes the ARD program, the charges will be dropped and the participant's criminal record will bear no scar.

So, for purposes of reporting to the Real Estate Commission, what does one do? The Rules and Regulations of the State Real Estate Commission at § 35.290 state: "A licensee shall notify the Commission of being convicted of, or pleading guilty or nolo contendere to a felony or misdemeanor, within thirty (30) days of the verdict or plea." Since there was no conviction, guilty plea or nolo contendere entered, there is nothing to report. Reporting, however, will not result in suspension or disciplinary action taken against you. Further, if one fails the ARD Program and ultimately pleads guilty is convicted or enters a nolo contendere plea, that information must be passed along to the Commission within 30 days.

Each county handles the ARD program somewhat differently. If a guilty plea or conviction if followed by entry into the ARD program, after which the record will be expunged, the result is different. You must report the crime whenever there is a guilty plea, conviction or nolo contendere plea entered, even if the record will be later expunged.

And what happens to one who is not accepted into the ARD program, but is actually convicted of a DUI? Will the Real Estate Commission make life more difficult for you? The answer is yes, if you have failed to report the conviction or guilty plea within 30 days. If you have reported your conviction properly and the DUI did not occur in the course of your real estate endeavors, then there may be no further discipline coming your way. But more on this later. Keep reading your newsletter and PAR's publication, JustListed.

Copyright © James L. Goldsmith, Esquire, CALDWELL & KEARNS, P.C., 2012

All Rights Reserved

Jim Goldsmith is an attorney with Caldwell & Kearns and serves as general counsel to PAR. A substantial portion of his practice is dedicated to providing advice and counsel to real estate licensees. He and his firm represent and defend real estate salespersons and brokers in civil lawsuits and licensing claims across the Commonwealth. Jim also defends REALTORS® in disciplinary hearings conducted by the Real Estate Commission. He routinely counsels employers on employee relations issues and is one of the voices of the PAR Legal Hotline. He may be reached at www.realcompliance.com.