"Crime of Moral Turpitude:" The Impact on Your Insurance License Application
(Part two of a two-part series)
Read Part One: How Moral Turpitude is Defined
If you are a licensed Florida insurance agent or adjuster, or if you’re looking to become licensed, you may have heard of the terms “moral turpitude” or “crime of moral turpitude.” It’s not exactly common vernacular, but if a crime is one of moral turpitude it can have a big impact on your license or license application.
In Part Two of this two-part series, we’ll discuss how a conviction for a crime of moral turpitude could impact your application for licensure.
In Part One, we reviewed how the Department of Financial Services defines “moral turpitude.” The law surrounding these issues is complex. If you have a criminal history but would like to apply for an insurance license, we recommend that you consult an experienced licensing attorney.
Disqualification from Licensure Due to Moral Turpitude
A crime of moral turpitude can disqualify you from licensure.
How long will you be disqualified? Like many things in law, it depends.
The disqualifying periods are outlined in Section 626.207, Florida Statutes. There are three types of disqualifying periods: permanent, 15 years, and 7 years. Note that for the purposes of applying for a license, it doesn’t matter if adjudication was withheld in your case, or if you pled nolo contendre instead of guilty. Also, the disqualifying period begins when your sentence is completed, NOT when you are convicted.
“An applicant who has been found guilty of or has pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to any of the following crimes, regardless of adjudication, is permanently barred from licensure under this chapter: (a) A felony of the first degree; (b) A capital felony; (c) A felony involving money laundering; (d) A felony embezzlement; or (e) A felony directly related to the financial services business.”626.207(2), Florida Statutes
A capital felony is a crime punishable by life in prison or the death penalty (i.e. murder). A “felony directly related to the financial services business” is defined by 626.207(1)(c) as “any financial activity regulated by the Department of Financial Services, the Office of Insurance Regulation, or the Office of Financial Regulation.”
If you have been convicted of any of these crimes, the chances of receiving a license from DFS are slim, as you are likely permanently barred from licensure.
The 15-year disqualifying period is outlined in 626.207(3)(a), which states:
“A 15-year disqualifying period for all felonies involving moral turpitude which are not specifically included in the permanent bar contained in subsection (2).”626.207(3)(a) Florida Statutes
There’s our term, “moral turpitude.” If you’re convicted of a felony that isn’t on the list under the permanent bar section and was a crime of moral turpitude, you will be subject to a 15-year bar from licensure. Not sure if your crime was one of moral turpitude? Read the list of crimes considered to be moral turpitude in Part One of this article.
Finally, 626.207(3)(b)-(c) outlines when the 7-year disqualifying period applies, stating:
“A 7-year disqualifying period for all felonies to which neither the permanent bar in subsection (2) nor the 15-year disqualifying period in paragraph (a) applies.”
“A 7-year disqualifying period for all misdemeanors directly related to the financial services business.”626.207(3)(b)-(c) Florida Statutes
The 7-year disqualifying period applies to all other felonies as well as financial misdemeanors. A “misdemeanor directly related to the financial services business” is again defined by 626.207(1)(c) as “any financial activity regulated by the Department of Financial Services, the Office of Insurance Regulation, or the Office of Financial Regulation.”
Reducing the Disqualifying Period
If you are under a disqualifying period, DFS legally cannot grant you a license. Luckily, there are some ways to get the disqualifying period reduced or removed completely:
- If you are subject to a 7-year disqualifying period and have served at least half of the 7 years, you may apply for a probationary license.
- If you receive a pardon or restoration of civil rights from Florida, you are no longer disqualified.
- There are “mitigating factors” that can be used to reduce the disqualifying period. These are found in the rules created by DFS, 69B-211.042(5), Florida Administrative Code. Note that there are also “aggravating factors” that can increase your disqualifying period.
Even after the disqualifying period has ended you must still prove rehabilitation. 626.207(6) states:
“After the disqualifying period has expired, the burden is on the applicant to demonstrate that the applicant has been rehabilitated, does not pose a risk to the insurance-buying public, is fit and trustworthy to engage in the business of insurance…and is otherwise qualified for licensure.”626.207(6) Florida Statutes
Howell, Buchan & Strong represents insurance agents, mortgage brokers, and other professionals who are licensed or are looking to become licensed, through the Department of Financial Services. Contact the law firm of Howell, Buchan & Strong at 850-877-7776 to set up a FREE, no-obligation consultation.
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