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How does a criminal record affect an architect license?

Professional boards are a common way to maintain standards across an industry. By regulating membership and licensing, a board can control who practices in the field and how they do it. Anyone who wants to be a professional architect in California must go through the California Architects Board.

CAB describes its licensing requirements as “more flexible” than other states. While this suggests they are less strict than other state architect boards, the “good character” clause gives CAB discretion about who gets in and who is denied.

Will a DUI or a criminal record affect your licensing?

What the Architects Practice Act says

A criminal record may disqualify an applicant, but it depends on the type of crime and when it was committed. Generally speaking, violent crimes, sex crimes and occupational offenses are more likely to trigger denial, as they reflect character or business issues that reflect poorly on the whole organization. A misdemeanor committed in an applicant’s youth may be overlooked, but a recent felony will not.

Good character and a criminal record

As CAB notes, the board is flexible. Character counts. A strong defense of your attributes, dedication and professional merit provide opportunity even if your history carries red flags. An experienced attorney can help you represent your strongest qualifications and character traits, acknowledging past mistakes but showing growth into the person you are today.

While you’re allowed to represent yourself, an attorney knows what information to include and how to build a strong argument in your defense. Similarly, an attorney can help with an appeals claim to help you get that important licensure if you’ve been denied. You need CAB approval to be an architect in the state of California. Getting through the application or appeals process as smoothly as possible is important to keeping your career on track.

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