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3 issues that impact a “moral character” decision in California?

On Behalf of | Jun 4, 2022 | Professional License Defense |

When seeking admission to the State Bar of California, an applicant must meet the criteria for moral character.

The qualities considered for a good moral character determination include honesty, candor, fairness, trustworthiness, obedience to the law, respect for the judicial process and respect for the rights of others. To decide the moral character of a candidate, the Bar examines instances of past misconduct.

Criminal history

An applicant with a history of criminal acts can receive a positive moral character decision if he or she is able to show rehabilitation. For serious crimes, the candidate must demonstrate exemplary behavior sustained over a long period of time before the State Bar will grant admission.

Substance abuse

The use of drugs or alcohol alone is not a reason to assign an applicant a negative moral character determination, but it may have relevance when related to other acts of misconduct. Seeking treatment for substance abuse may serve as evidence of rehabilitation.

Substantial Unpaid Debt

Independent of other factors, having debt or filing for bankruptcy is not a singular reason for the Bar to deny admittance. However, irresponsible handling of finances or defrauding creditors may constitute moral character if the candidate does not present a showing of reform.

In moral character determinations, the applicant bears the burden of proving his or her worthiness to the Committee of Bar Examiners. To avoid denial, it is important that you disclose all requested or relevant information and provide consistent or adequate explanations to questions and inquiries from investigators.


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