In 21 states, plus Washington, D.C., ex-offenders can petition a licensing board at any time, including before enrolling in any required training, to determine if their record would be disqualifying.
Banned or Repealed Vague Character Requirements
Nineteen states generally prevent licensing boards from using vague standards like “good moral character” or “moral turpitude” to deny licenses for ex-offenders. In a similar vein, four states plus the District of Columbia removed moral character requirements from many of their licenses but did not enact an overarching ban.
Banned character requirements
Repealed character requirements, but no overarching ban
“Directly Related” Standard
Twenty states and the District of Columbia block licensing boards from denying ex-offenders a license to work, unless the board determines that the applicant’s criminal record is “directly related” to the license sought.
Banned Boards from Using Arrest Records
Twenty states and Washington, D.C. expressly ban boards from considering arrests that did not result in a conviction.
Time Limits for Old Convictions
Thirteen states limit boards from considering convictions that happened long ago, though these time limits usually do not apply to violent or sexual felonies.
Banned Boards from Using Sealed or Expunged Records
Eighteen states and Washington, D.C. prohibit boards from using annulled, erased, expunged, sealed, or vacated records to disqualify applicants.
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