Is your teaching license in jeopardy due to criminal allegations?  Safeguard your credentials and reputation with the Helfend Law Group – 800-834-6434

An educator’s responsibilities extend far beyond imparting knowledge to students. Those who teach children are entrusted with their care and safety for hours each day and university instructors serve to guide students toward their future careers. 

When an educator is accused of committing a crime, it can call into question their credibility as well as their character. Students, parents, and administrators can all be affected when a teacher or school official faces criminal charges. 

Due to the risk of far-reaching repercussions, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) takes alleged criminal activity quite seriously. That means that educators who’ve been charged with a crime will also likely face some additional complications. 

If you’re an educator or school official who’s been accused of a crime, it’s crucial that you find a criminal defense attorney who is familiar with CTC regulations and the complications you might face.

How criminal charges can affect your California teaching credentials

The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) is the state licensing board for educators. When a teacher is arrested or convicted of a crime, they are reviewed by the CTC. While any type of suspected criminal activity or unprofessional conduct will result in a review, the CTC is particularly vigilant about sex crimes, violent crimes, and drug crimes. 

A credential holder may have their license suspended or revoked in addition to any legal consequences issued by the court. The CTC can also refuse to allow teaching credential applicants to obtain licenses based on their criminal histories. Certain offenses require a defendant’s credentials to be revoked automatically, whereas others require a review of the case in order to determine the appropriate disciplinary action. In cases where the alleged crime involves elements such as sexual misconduct or child abuse, the defendant’s license may be suspended or revoked before they have been tried. 

 It is important to note that the CTC can still take disciplinary action if:

  • The conviction is for an offense that is eligible for expungement under California Penal Code 1203.4.6 PC
  • The credential holder completed a court-ordered diversion program
  • The conviction was obtained through a “no contest” plea

Loss or suspension of a California teaching license

The California Business and Professions Codes 480 and 490 BPC give California licensing agencies the power to revoke a professional license from an individual who’s been convicted of a crime that is “substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of the business or profession for which the license was issued.”

The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing has the authority to suspend or revoke an educator’s license if they are convicted of an offense that they believe makes them unfit to teach.

Crimes resulting in the automatic loss or suspension of California teaching credentials

California Education Code Sections 44424 and 44425 define the types of crimes for which a convicted educator will automatically have their credentials suspended or revoked. Those offenses include violent crimes, sex crimes, and certain drug crimes.

Violent crimes and serious felonies

Under California Education Code 44010, a defendant’s teaching credentials will be automatically revoked if they are convicted of a serious of violent felony such as:

  • Aggravated battery (PC 243(3))
  • Murder (PC 187)
  • Attempted murder (PC 664/187)
  • Kidnapping (PC 207)
  • Assault with a deadly weapon (PC 207)

Sex crimes

A sex crime conviction that would require the defendant to register as a sex offender is cause for automatic revocation of a teacher’s license under California Education Code 44010. Some offenses that meet this criteria are:

  • Child pornography (PC 311)
  • Lewd acts with a minor under 14 years of age (PC 288)
  • Child Molestation (PC 647.6)
  • Indecent exposure (PC 314)

Drug crimes

Certain drug-related offenses will result in the automatic suspension or revocation of a California teaching license, including:

  • Drug trafficking (HSC 11352)
  • Drug manufacturing (HSC 11379.6)
  • Prescription fraud (HSC 11173)

In some circumstances where a teaching license has been revoked (typically cases involving sex crimes and drug-related offenses), the law requires that it be reinstated if the defendant is acquitted and the conviction is overturned. 

Crimes that may or may not result in loss of teaching credentials

Not every criminal conviction will result in the loss or suspension of an educator’s credentials. In some cases, it is up to the CTC to determine whether a misdemeanor or felony conviction demonstrates that the defendant is “unfit to teach.” Examples of crimes that may or may not result in the loss or suspension of teaching credentials include:

  • DUI (23152 VC)
  • Misdemeanor battery (242 PC)
  • Petty theft (484(a))
  • Embezzlement (503 PC)
  • Reckless driving (23103 VC)

The CTC takes numerous factors into account when determining whether or not a conviction should result in disciplinary action, including:

  • The likelihood of a repeat offense
  • The impact of the offense on student conduct and classroom management 
  • Extenuating or aggravating circumstances
  • The defendant’s motives in committing the offense
  • The amount and type of publicity generated by the offense or trial

License defense for school officials

If you’re a California educator facing criminal charges, you can take steps to safeguard your future with the help of a licensed criminal defense attorney. Cases involving a teacher or school official can be especially challenging, as the likelihood of public scrutiny and publicity are high. This is especially true if the allegations involve the abuse of a minor. That’s why it is important to hire an experienced attorney who is knowledgeable about the complexities of defending educators. The right defense lawyer will aggressively defend your rights inside and outside of the courtroom. With good legal help you may be able to avoid a conviction and retain your credentials.

Criminal charges can have far-reaching consequences for teachers and school officials. If you’ve been accused of a crime, you need an attorney who will work tirelessly to defend your credentials and your reputation. Rated one of Los Angeles’s top defense attorneys by Lead Counsel, Super Lawyers, the National Trial Lawyers Top 100, the Helfend Law Group has the knowledge and expertise needed to lead you teaching license defense. He and his team are available 24/7 to answer your questions and provide legal support. Call today to schedule a free consultation – 800-834-6434