What Factors Does TDLR Consider in Determining if Your Criminal History Disqualifies You From an Occupational License (002)

The Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation (TDLR) issues licenses for various occupations. As a result, they review all applications and eligibility requirements for individuals seeking those licenses, including their criminal histories. TDLR also issues Criminal History Evaluation Letters, which allow prospective applicants to gauge their eligibility for an occupation before going through the entire licensing process and then learning that their criminal history makes them ineligible. An occupational license defense lawyer may be able to assist you in obtaining a license from TDLR when your criminal history poses an issue. 

The TDLR Licensure Process for Applicants with Criminal Histories 

Tex. Occ. Code § 53.025(a) outlines the process that the TDLR uses to consider licensure applicants with criminal histories. TDLR may make this determination when an individual applies for an occupational license. However, TDLR also may preemptively make this determination if an applicant requests a Criminal History Evaluation Letter.

Some license applications ask applicants to provide information about their criminal histories. Regardless, TDLR also performs a criminal background check on each applicant through the Department of Public Safety (DPS). Suppose the application or background check reveals a criminal conviction that could be a basis for denying licensure. In that case, the application goes to TDLR’s Enforcement Division, where an attorney is assigned to review it. The attorney then determines whether to allow or deny the application due to that conviction. 

If the attorney decides that TDLR should deny the application based on the conviction, TDLR issues a proposed license denial letter to the applicant. The letter contains the conviction that caused the proposed denial, the statutory authority for the proposed denial, and the advisement that the applicant may request a hearing to challenge the proposed denial. 

Any request for a hearing goes to a prosecuting attorney, and an administrative law judge schedules a hearing on the license denial. After the hearing, the administrative law judge issues a Proposal for a Decision for the Commission on Licensing and Regulation to consider. The Commission ultimately decides whether to grant or deny the license to the applicant after considering the Proposal for Decision.

General Factors that the TDLR Considers in Evaluating an Applicant’s Criminal History

While some factors may be more important and specific to some occupations than others, TDLR considers certain factors in all cases, including the following:

  • The nature and seriousness of the crime;
  • The relationship of the crime to the purposes for requiring a license to engage in the occupation;
  • The extent to which a license might offer an opportunity to engage in further criminal activity of the same type as that in which the applicant previously had been involved; and
  • The relationship of the crime to the ability, capacity, or fitness required to perform the duties and discharge the responsibilities of the licensed occupation.

Furthermore, TDLR also considers various general factors in evaluating an applicant’s fitness to perform the duties and responsibilities of the licensed occupation in question, considering their criminal convictions. These factors include the following:

  • the extent and nature of the person’s past criminal activity;
  • the age of the person when the crime was committed;
  • the amount of time that has elapsed since the person’s last criminal activity;
  • the conduct and work activity of the person before and after the criminal activity;
  • evidence of the person’s rehabilitation or rehabilitative effort while incarcerated or after release; and
  • other evidence of the person’s fitness, including letters of recommendation from:
    1. prosecutors and law enforcement and correctional officers who prosecuted, arrested, or had custodial responsibility for the person;
    2. the sheriff or chief of police in the community where the person resides; and
    3. any other person in contact with the convicted person.

Applicant Responsibilities

In addition to providing any criminal history information requested on their licensing application or by TDLR, applicants should provide recommendations for licensure by prosecutors, law enforcement authorities, and correctional authorities, if possible. Additionally, applicants can support their request for licensure by providing proof of the following:

  • A record of steady employment;
  • A history of supporting their dependents;
  • A record of good conduct, such as during any periods of community supervision or incarceration; and
  • Payment of all outstanding court costs, supervision fees, fines, and restitution ordered in any criminal conviction. 

Click to contact our professional license defense lawyers today

Crimes that May Prohibit Occupational Licensure

Most crimes that prohibit occupational licensure fall within a few general categories. Nonetheless, TDLR can consider any criminal conviction in determining whether an applicant is appropriate for licensure due to their criminal history. Additionally, TDLR will examine multiple violations of any criminal statute carefully, as they could indicate a pattern of criminal behavior that makes the applicant unsuitable for licensure.

Some of the most common types of criminal offenses that render applicants unfit for licensure include the following:

    • Crimes involving fraud, extortion, misrepresentation, bribery, breach of fiduciary duty, abuse of office, tampering with a governmental record, perjury, or deceptive trade or business practices;
    • Crimes involving prohibited sexual conduct;
    • Crimes involving children, the elderly, or the disabled as victims;
    • Crimes against property, such as theft, arson, or burglary;
    • Crimes against the person, such as homicide, kidnapping, unlawful restraint, or assault;
  • Crimes involving the possession, possession with intent to deliver, possession with intent to distribute, delivery, distribution, or manufacture of drugs;
  • Crimes involving being under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or dangerous substances;
  • Crimes involving animal cruelty or neglect;

We Will Represent Your Interests Before TDLR

We know how important it is to achieve your career goals and overcome your criminal history. The experienced occupational license defense lawyers at Bertolino LLP, will advocate to help you obtain the occupational license you seek. Together, we will work to put you in the best position possible to obtain your occupational license. Call us at (512) 515-9518 or contact us online.

Call or text (512) 476-5757 or complete a Case Evaluation form