District of Columbia

District of Columbia

Final grade: A-

Exclusion Grade


Relevance Grade


Due Process Grade



  • Boards may only use directly related crimes and must consider multiple factors, including evidence of rehabilitation and time elapsed since the crime was committed.
  • Strong safeguards for due process by requiring a petition process and placing the burden of proof on the board.

Areas of Improvement

  • Ban agencies from considering old convictions. 

Updated January 2021

Thanks to a sweeping law enacted in 2021, Washington, D.C. is tied with Iowa for the best laws in the nation. The District also received the country’s highest Relevance grade.  

Statute: D.C. Code § 47–2853.17, § 3–1205.03 (2019)

Overarching ban on blanket bans Yes
Ban on considering arrest records No
Ban on considering post-conviction relief records Yes, expunged, sealed, and vacated records
Time limit No limit
Ban on vague, discretionary character standards No, but the District repealed moral character requirements for multiple licenses
Relationship between the crime and the license sought "Directly related"
Required factors for consideration
Rehabilitation Yes
Time elapsed since crime was committed Yes
Age when crime was committed Yes
Employment History Yes
Testimonials Yes
Due Process
Petition Process Yes
Burden of Proof Burden unspecified, boards require clear and convincing evidence
Right to appeal Yes
Written notice requirement Yes