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Nov 23

The Impact Of Drug Crime Convictions On Colorado Teacher License Certification

By H. Michael Steinberg Colorado Drug Crimes Criminal Defense Lawyer For Teachers and Nurses

The Impact Of Drug Crime Convictions On Colorado Teacher License Certification – A recent article in the Denver Post addressed the reasons why Colorado teachers had lost their right to practice their profession.

(The cases were reviewed by FOX31 Denver….33 teachers lost their licenses in the past ten years associated with drugs; teachers caught “possessing mushrooms,” “selling heroin,” stealing “prescriptions from the student medicine cabinet.”)

Background checks for teachers are standard of course and drug related convictions – even misdemeanor and petty offense drug convictions – can mean losing your job if you are a teacher.. Or a drug related conviction can result in never obtaining the position in the first place.

When Colorado Teachers Lose Their License For Criminal Convictions

Who Is Included In The List Of Teachers?

      • Every person seeking a license as a teacher and:
      • substitute teachers,
      • special service providers,
      • principals,
      • administrators,
      • adjunct instructors,
      • school speech-language pathology assistants,
      • JROTC instructors,
      • career and technical educators,
      • literacy instructors, and
      • other school-related professions

ALL are considered teaching professionals and are required to submit to a fingerprint-based criminal history check and are required to disclose prior felony or misdemeanor convictions. Also Public, nonpublic, charter, institute charter, and on-line schools ALL have an obligation to perform a criminal history check on prospective employees.

What Kinds Of Convictions Are Mandatory Termination Crimes – That Is – Require The Mandatory Loss Of Colorado Teacher’s Licenses? 22-60.5-107(2.5)

The following convictions – including certain drug related convictions require school districts toi terminate a teacher’s license.

A teachers license shall be denied, annulled, suspended, or revoked when the applicant or holder is convicted of any of the following offenses, either by jury verdict, entry of a verdict, acceptance of a guilty plea, or a plea of nolo contendere. C.R.S. 22-60.5-107(2.5).

[(2.6) (a) In addition to the offenses described in subsection (2.5) of this section, the state board of education shall deny, annul, suspend, or revoke a license, certificate, endorsement, or authorization if the applicant for or holder of the license, certificate, endorsement, or authorization is convicted of a felony drug offense described in part 4 of article 18 of title 18, C.R.S., committed on or after August 25, 2012. The requirement that the state board of education deny, annul, suspend, or revoke a license, certificate, endorsement, or authorization shall only apply for a period of five years following the date the offense was committed.

(b) Nothing in this subsection (2.6) shall limit the authority of the state board of education to deny, annul, suspend, or revoke a license, certificate, endorsement, or authorization if the applicant or holder is convicted of a felony drug offense described in part 4 of article 18 of title 18, C.R.S., committed prior to August 25, 2012.

* Licensure shall be denied, annulled, suspended, or revoked when the applicant or holder has received a disposition or adjudication for an offense that would constitute felony unlawful sexual behavior. C.R.S. 22-60.5-107(2.5)(a)(III).

What Kinds Of Convictions Are Discretionary As Regards The Loss Of A Colorado Teachers License?

Licensure may be denied, annulled, suspended, or revoked when the applicant or holder is convicted of, pleads nolo contendere to, or receives a deferred sentence for a violation of any of the following offenses. C.R.S. 22-60.5-107(2).

      • Misdemeanor sexual assault as described in section 18-3-402, C.R.S.;
      • Misdemeanor unlawful sexual conduct as described in section 18-3-404, C.R.S.;
      • Misdemeanor sexual assault on a client by a psychotherapist as described in section 18-3-405.5, C.R.S.;
      • Misdemeanor child abuse as described in section 18-6-401, C.R.S.;
      • A misdemeanor, the underlying factual basis of which has been found by the court on the record to involve domestic violence, as defined in section 18-6-800.3 (1), C.R.S., and the conviction is a second or subsequent conviction for the same offense;
      • Contributing to the delinquency of a minor as described in section 18-6-701, C.R.S.;
      • A misdemeanor committed under the laws of the United States, another state, a municipality of another state, or any territory subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, the elements of which are substantially similar to sexual exploitation of children as described in section 18-6-403 (3) (b.5), C.R.S.; or
      • An offense committed by a juvenile that would constitute a physical assault, battery, or drug-related offense if committed by an adult and the offense was committed within the last ten years.

The Role Of Good Moral Character – And The Deferred Judgment And Sentence

A basic tenet of being a teacher is the requirement of a “good moral character.” Of course this also applies to special service providers, principals, and administrators. C.R.S. 22-60.5-201, 22-60.5-210, 22-60.5-301, 22-60.5-306.

This wide open phrase applies to teachers who run the risk of losing their position for such things as  immorality, conviction of a felony, or the acceptance of a guilty plea, a plea of nolo contendere, or a deferred sentence for a felony. C.R.S. 22-63-301.

Some areas are more When the Department of Education denies, revokes, or annuls a license due to a conviction for felony child abuse or unlawful sexual behavior, the department shall enter into a settlement agreement with the individual that prohibits ever teaching at a public or private school in the United States. C.R.S. 22-60.5-108(4).

When Must The Colorado Court’s Report Criminal Convictions – Cases – To The Colorado Department Of Education?

The Colorado Judicial Districts and other criminal courts are mandated to report certain crimes to the Colorado Department of Education. This occurs when a defendant known to be a current or former employee of a school district, or who holds a license or authorization pursuant to article 60.5 of title 22, C.R.S., is convicted, pleads nolo contendere, or receives a deferred sentence for:

  • A violation of any crime under part 4 of article 3 of title 18 (pertaining to unlawful sexual behavior). C.R.S. 18-3-416.
  • Incest or aggravated incest. C.R.S. 18-6-301, -302.
  • Wrongs to children (child abuse and sexual exploitation of a child). C.R.S. 18-6-405.
  • Contributing to the delinquency of a minor. C.R.S. 18-6-701.
  • Child prostitution related offenses. C.R.S. 18-7-409.
  • Any felony. C.R.S. 13-1-130.

The Impact Of Drug Crime Convictions On Colorado Teacher License Certification

Conclusion – The loss of your teacher’s license is incomprehensible – after years of hard work and diligence – do NOT risk that loss by assuming that you can “go it alone.” Consult with an experienced Colorado criminal defense lawyer.

The Critical Law In This Areas ( as of 2014)

COLORADO REVISED STATUTES

TITLE 22. EDUCATION TEACHERS – ARTICLE 60.5. COLORADO EDUCATOR LICENSING ACT – C.R.S. 22-60.5-107 (2014)

22-60.5-107. Grounds for denying, annulling, suspending, or revoking license, certificate, endorsement, or authorization

(1) If any person obtains or attempts to obtain any license, certificate, endorsement, or authorization pursuant to the provisions of this article through misrepresentation or fraud or through misleading information or an untruthful statement submitted or offered with the intent to misrepresent or mislead or to conceal the truth, such license, certificate, endorsement, or authorization may be annulled or denied by the department of education in the manner prescribed in section 22-60.5-108.

(2) Any license, certificate, endorsement, or authorization may be denied, annulled, suspended, or revoked in the manner prescribed in section 22-60.5-108, notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1) of this section:

(a) When the holder has been determined to be mentally incompetent by a court of competent jurisdiction and a court has entered, pursuant to part 3 or part 4 of article 14 of title 15 or section 27-65-109 (4) or 27-65-127, C.R.S., an order specifically finding that the mental incompetency is of such a degree that the holder is incapable of continuing to perform his or her job; except that the license, certificate, endorsement, or authorization held by a person who has been determined to be mentally incompetent and for whom such an order has been entered shall be revoked or suspended by operation of law without a hearing, notwithstanding the provisions of section 22-60.5-108;

(b) When the applicant or holder is convicted of, pleads nolo contendere to, or receives a deferred sentence for a violation of any one of the following offenses:

(I) Misdemeanor sexual assault as described in section 18-3-402, C.R.S.;

(II) Misdemeanor unlawful sexual conduct as described in section 18-3-404, C.R.S.;

(III) Misdemeanor sexual assault on a client by a psychotherapist as described in section 18-3-405.5, C.R.S.;

(IV) Misdemeanor child abuse as described in section 18-6-401, C.R.S.;

(VI) A misdemeanor, the underlying factual basis of which has been found by the court on the record to involve domestic violence, as defined in section 18-6-800.3 (1), C.R.S., and the conviction is a second or subsequent conviction for the same offense;

(VII) Contributing to the delinquency of a minor as described in section 18-6-701, C.R.S.;

(VII.5) A misdemeanor committed under the laws of the United States, another state, a municipality of another state, or any territory subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, the elements of which are substantially similar to sexual exploitation of children as described in section 18-6-403 (3) (b.5), C.R.S.; or

(VIII) A crime under the laws of the United States, another state, a municipality of this state or another state, or any territory subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, the elements of which are substantially similar to one of the offenses described in subparagraphs (I) to (VII) of this paragraph (b);

(c) When the applicant or holder is found guilty of or upon the court’s acceptance of a guilty plea or a plea of nolo contendere to a misdemeanor violation of any law of this state or another state, any municipality of this state or another state, or the United States or any territory subject to the jurisdiction of the United States involving the illegal sale of controlled substances, as defined in section 18-18-102 (5), C.R.S.;

(d) When the applicant or holder is found guilty of a felony, other than a felony described in subsection (2.5) or (2.6) of this section, or upon the court’s acceptance of a guilty plea or a plea of nolo contendere to a felony, other than a felony described in subsection (2.5) or (2.6) of this section, in this state or, under the laws of any other state, the United States, or any territory subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, of a crime which, if committed within this state, would be a felony, other than a felony described in subsection (2.5) or (2.6) of this section, when the commission of said felony, in the judgment of the state board of education, renders the applicant or holder unfit to perform the services authorized by his or her license, certificate, endorsement, or authorization;

(e) When the applicant or holder has received a disposition or an adjudication for an offense involving what would constitute a physical assault, a battery, or a drug-related offense if committed by an adult and the offense was committed within the ten years preceding the date of application for a license, certificate, endorsement, or authorization pursuant to this article;

(f) When the applicant or holder has forfeited any bail, bond, or other security deposited to secure the appearance by the applicant or holder who is charged with having committed a felony or misdemeanor, has paid a fine, has entered a plea of nolo contendere, or has received a deferred or suspended sentence imposed by the court for any offense described in subparagraph (I) or (II) of paragraph (a) of subsection (2.5) of this section or in subsection (2.6) of this section.

(2.5) (a) A license, certificate, endorsement, or authorization shall be denied, annulled, suspended, or revoked in the manner prescribed in section 22-60.5-108, notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1) of this section to the contrary, in the following circumstances:

(I) When the applicant or holder is convicted of one of the following offenses:

(A) Felony child abuse, as specified in section 18-6-401, C.R.S.;

(B) A crime of violence, as defined in section 18-1.3-406, C.R.S.;

(C) A felony offense involving unlawful sexual behavior, as defined in section 16-22-102 (9), C.R.S.;

(D) Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this subsection (2.5), a felony, the underlying factual basis of which has been found by the court on the record to include an act of domestic violence, as defined in section 18-6-800.3, C.R.S.;

(E) A felony offense in another state, the United States, or territory subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, the elements of which are substantially similar to the elements of one of the offenses described in sub-subparagraphs (A) to (D) of this subparagraph (I);

(II) When the applicant or holder is convicted of indecent exposure, as described in section 18-7-302, C.R.S., or of a crime under the laws of another state, a municipality of this or another state, the United States, or a territory subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, the elements of which are substantially similar to the offense of indecent exposure described in this subparagraph (II);

(III) When the applicant or holder has received a disposition or an adjudication for an offense that would constitute felony unlawful sexual behavior, as defined in section 16-22-102 (9), C.R.S., if committed by an adult; or

(IV) When the applicant or holder fails to submit fingerprints on a timely basis after receipt of the written request from the department of education pursuant to section 22-60.5-103 (6) (a).

(b) For purposes of this subsection (2.5), “convicted” or “conviction” means a conviction by a jury verdict or by entry of a verdict or acceptance of a guilty plea or a plea of nolo contendere by a court.

(c) The grounds for mandatory denial, annulment, suspension, or revocation of a license, certificate, endorsement, or authorization pursuant to sub-subparagraph (D) of subparagraph (I) of paragraph (a) of this subsection (2.5) shall only apply for a period of five years following the date the offense was committed, provided the applicant or holder has successfully completed any domestic violence treatment required by the court.

(2.6) (a) In addition to the offenses described in subsection (2.5) of this section, the state board of education shall deny, annul, suspend, or revoke a license, certificate, endorsement, or authorization if the applicant for or holder of the license, certificate, endorsement, or authorization is convicted of a felony drug offense described in part 4 of article 18 of title 18, C.R.S., committed on or after August 25, 2012. The requirement that the state board of education deny, annul, suspend, or revoke a license, certificate, endorsement, or authorization shall only apply for a period of five years following the date the offense was committed.

(b) Nothing in this subsection (2.6) shall limit the authority of the state board of education to deny, annul, suspend, or revoke a license, certificate, endorsement, or authorization if the applicant or holder is convicted of a felony drug offense described in part 4 of article 18 of title 18, C.R.S., committed prior to August 25, 2012.

(c) For purposes of this subsection (2.6), “convicted” or “conviction” means a conviction by a jury verdict or by entry of a verdict or acceptance of a guilty plea or a plea of nolo contendere by a court.

(2.7) Notwithstanding any other provision of subsection (2.5) of this section to the contrary, if the state board determines a person who held a license, certificate, endorsement, or authorization prior to June 6, 1991, has been convicted of an offense described in subsection (2.5) of this section, the state board may annul, suspend, or revoke a license, certificate, endorsement, or authorization in the manner prescribed in section 22-60.5-108, unless the holder was previously afforded the rights set forth in section 22-60.5-108 with respect to the offense and the holder received or retained his or her license, certificate, endorsement, or authorization as a result.

(3) A certified copy of the judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction of a conviction, the acceptance of a guilty plea, a plea of nolo contendere, or a deferred sentence shall be conclusive evidence for the purposes of paragraphs (b) and (c) of subsection (2) of this section. A certified copy of the judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction of a conviction or the acceptance of a guilty plea shall be conclusive evidence for the purposes of subsections (2.5) and (2.6) of this section. Upon receipt of a certified copy of the judgment, the department of education may take immediate action to deny, annul, or suspend any license, certificate, endorsement, or authorization without a hearing, notwithstanding the provisions of section 22-60.5-108. The department of education may revoke a suspended license based on a violation of paragraph (b) or (c) of subsection (2) of this section and shall revoke a suspended license based on a violation of subsection (2.5) or (2.6) of this section without a hearing and without any further action, after the exhaustion of all appeals, if any, or after the time for seeking an appeal has elapsed, and upon the entry of a final judgment.

(4) The department of education may deny, annul, suspend, or revoke any license, certificate, endorsement, or authorization if the state board finds and determines that the applicant or holder thereof is professionally incompetent or guilty of unethical behavior.

(5) The state board of education shall promulgate appropriate rules defining the standards of unethical behavior and professional incompetency.

(6) The state board of education may promulgate, pursuant to the provisions of the “State Administrative Procedure Act”, article 4 of title 24, C.R.S., such rules as it may deem necessary to establish procedures for the filing and investigation of complaints alleging conduct that, if true, may establish grounds for denying, annulling, revoking, or suspending an educator license or certificate.

(7) In the manner prescribed in section 22-60.5-108, the department of education may suspend a license, certificate, endorsement, or authorization when the holder, without good cause, resigns or abandons his or her contracted position with a school district without giving the written notice required by section 22-63-202 (2) (b).

(8) When an applicant’s or holder’s license is denied, annulled, suspended, or revoked pursuant to the provisions of subsection (2.5) or (2.6) of this section, the department of education shall post the name of the person and basis for the denial, annulment, suspension, or revocation on its web site.

(9) In furtherance of its duties under this section and section 22-60.5-103, the department of education may conduct a search on the ICON system at the state judicial department, as defined in section 24-33.5-102 (3), C.R.S., and may use any other available source of criminal history information the department of education deems appropriate, including obtaining records from any law enforcement agency and juvenile delinquency records pursuant to section 19-1-304, C.R.S.


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