If you are, or hope to be, a California teacher the effects of a criminal conviction on your career can be devastating. In addition to the “direct” consequences of a criminal conviction, such as imprisonment, a criminal conviction may have “collateral consequences” such as an impact on your career or vocation.
Cal. Education Code § 4439 requires “reasonable evidence of good moral character” from anyone who applies for, or renews, their teaching credential. Additionally, applicants and credentialed teachers who want to renew their credential can be required to produce information, records, reports and other data from any public agency, including law enforcement agencies. The California Dept. of Justice is also required to furnish records information which typically includes the applicant or credentialed teacher’s record of arrests and convictions.
The Commission on Teacher Credentialing has adopted a number of regulations relating to the credentialing process which includes renewals. (5 CCR 80302.) The Committee of Credentials investigates the application. When it finds evidence of alleged misconduct, must determine whether there is any relationship between the alleged misconduct and their moral fitness, competence, or ability to perform the duties authorized by their credential.
Factors that are considered by the Committee of Credentials is broad and includes (but is not limited to): the likelihood or degree to which conduct may adversely affect students or the educational community; the recency of the misconduct; any extenuating or aggravating circumstances surrounding the conduct; the praiseworthiness or blameworthiness of the motives resulting in the conduct; the likelihood that the conduct will recur; the extent to which disciplinary action may adversely impact your constitutional rights; and the publicity or notoriety of the conduct.
It is important that teachers or aspiring teachers obtain competent counsel to represent them in any criminal proceeding because of the potential for permanent damage to your career that could occur as a result of a criminal conviction. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to assist you in understanding the direct consequences of criminal conviction, and can help minimize the impact on your career.
The Cota Law Firm has experience representing the holders of professional licenses and credentials, including teachers, doctors, lawyers, nurses, firefighters, and peace officers. We are proud to represent the accused in Riverside County, Orange County, San Bernardino County and Los Angeles County.