Final grade: B-

Exclusion Grade


Relevance Grade


Due Process Grade



  • Blocks boards from relying on non-conviction records and “good moral character” when considering applicants.
  • Imposes a time limit for considering old convictions.

Areas of Improvement

  • Strengthen safeguards for due process by requiring a petition process and placing the burden of proof on the state.
  • Extend state’s protections to all licenses.

California receives a B- for its final grade thanks to a 2018 reform that strengthened legal protections for ex-offenders. The reform applies to credentials issued by the California Department of Consumer Affairs, the state’s largest licensing authority.

Several occupations, most notably certified nurse assistants and emergency medical technicians, fall outside the state’s recent reforms. Boards can deny aspiring CNAs if they have been convicted of any drug crime and may consider far more criminal records than boards governed by California’s main law.

Meanwhile, becoming a licensed EMT is practically impossible for ex-offenders. Under state law, applicants are automatically disqualified if they have been convicted of two or more felonies in their lifetime or if they have been convicted of two or more misdemeanors involving drugs, theft, or violence.

Statute: Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 475 to 495 (West 2012)

Overarching ban on blanket bans Yes, but excludes health care facilities, nurse assistants, and emergency medical technicians
Ban on considering arrest records Yes
Ban on considering post-conviction relief records Yes, dismissed and expunged records
Time limit 7 years, except for "serious offenses"
Ban on vague, discretionary character standards Yes
Relationship between the crime and the license sought "The board may deny a license pursuant to this subdivision only if the crime or act is substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of the business or profession for which application is made."
Required factors for consideration
Rehabilitation Yes
Time elapsed since crime was committed Yes
Age when crime was committed No
Employment History No
Testimonials No
Due Process
Petition Process No
Burden of Proof Both unspecified
Right to appeal Yes
Written notice requirement Yes