(1) Initial qualifications. To be certified by the Department, each Applicant for Program Owner shall meet the following initial qualifications:
(a) Clear criminal record. Each Applicant for Program Owner shall be subject to a fingerprint-based check of his or her criminal history, as designated by the Department. No person with a conviction of a felony or any other crime involving violence or a crime of moral turpitude or a pattern of misdemeanors that evidences a disregard for the law, shall be certified by the Department as a Program Owner, unless he or she has received a pardon and can produce evidence of same. For the purposes of this chapter, a plea of nolo contendere and “first offender” sentences imposed pursuant to O.C.G.A. §42-8-60, et seq., shall be considered a conviction. For the purposes of this chapter, a conviction for which a person has been free from custody and free from supervision for at least ten (10) years shall not be considered, unless the conviction is for an offense which is a dangerous sexual offense, as defined in O.C.G.A. §42-1-12, or the criminal offense was committed against a victim who was a minor at the time of the offense, which offense shall result in the applicant’s permanent disqualification from eligibility.
(b) Safe driving record. Each Applicant for Program Owner shall possess a valid driver's license from the state of his or her legal residence, unless he or she has a medical condition that makes him or her ineligible for a driver's license. Each Applicant for Program Owner shall be subject to a check of his or her driving history. No Person whose driver’s license or privilege to drive has been suspended or revoked as the result of any conviction or combination of convictions during the five (5) year period of immediately preceding application for Certification shall be certified by the Department as a Program Owner.
(c) Freedom from substance abuse and illicit drug use. Each Applicant for Program Owner shall certify to the Department that he or she refrains, and will continue to refrain, from abusing alcoholic beverages or controlled substances and from using illicit drugs.
(d) Age. Applicants for Program Owner shall be at least twenty-one (21) years of age.
(2) Ongoing qualifications. Each Program Owner shall maintain the following qualifications, as applicable, on an ongoing basis:
(a) Continued clear criminal record. Each Program Owner shall maintain a criminal record free of felony or misdemeanor convictions or pleas. In addition, each Owner certified by the Department shall notify the Department if he or she pleads guilty or nolo contendere to, or is convicted of, any felony or misdemeanor within five (5) business days immediately following such event. Further, each Program Owner certified by the Department shall, within 5 business days immediately thereafter, report to the Department any arrests, which, if convicted thereof, would have excluded him or her from becoming initially certified as a Program Owner pursuant to 375-5-6-.04(1)(a). The Department may suspend, revoke, or cancel any Program Owner Certification upon receipt of notice of a conviction or arrest.
(b) Continued safe driving record. Each Program Owner shall continue to maintain a safe driving record during his or her period of Certification by the Department. Each Program Owner shall continue to possess a valid driver's license from the state of his or her legal residence, unless he or she has a medical condition that makes him or her ineligible for a driver's license. Each Program Owner shall notify the Department, within five (5) business days immediately thereafter, if his or her driver’s license or privilege to drive is cancelled, suspended, or revoked in any jurisdiction, including the State of Georgia, for any reason. The Department may suspend, revoke, or cancel any Program Owner’s Certification upon receipt of such notice of conviction.