The fact that Colotl was enrolled in a public college sparked a statewide debate that became so intense that it prompted the Georgia Board of Regents last month to ban illegal immigrants from the state's top public colleges beginning next fall.
Colotl appeared in state court Thursday morning, after pleading not guilty to the two misdemeanor traffic citations she was issued in March on KSU's campus. The citations eventually led to the 22-year-old's detainment by immigration officials and the threat of deportation, when it was found that she was in the country illegally.
While Colotl could be facing jail time, it may only be for a few hours. Her attorney, Chris Taylor, of Hernan, Taylor and Lee in Norcross, said that according to the law, she will have to serve at least 48 hours in jail for driving without a license; however, the KSU student has already served 45.5 hours in jail for that charge.
A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for Monday at 11 a.m., but Taylor speculated that it might be pushed back since he and his law partner, Jerome Lee, also of Hernan, Taylor and Lee, plan to appeal.
State Court Administrator Frank Baker said Colotl could face up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
A conviction would not affect Colotl's immigration status, since a federal immigration judge ordered that she be deported after she graduates in the spring, according to her immigration attorney Charles Kuck.
Following the verdict, Colotl said she felt good. She sat silent and mostly unemotional next to her attorneys during the trial.
"I don't agree with it, but I have to go along with what they reached," Colotl said.
A jury of six Cobb County residents - three men and three women - only deliberated for about 15 minutes before coming to a verdict, following a two-and-a-half hour trial in Judge Kathryn Tanksley's courtroom.
During the trial, only Colotl and KSU police officer Sgt. Kevin Kinsey, who stopped Colotl for the traffic violation, took the stand.
Kinsey claimed that he had observed Colotl idling in her gold Honda Civic in the middle of a KSU parking lot around 11 a.m. on March 29. When he drove up to her car, she sped away, circled the lot and then came back and stopped at the exact spot where she had been sitting before, Kinsey said. That's when the KSU police officer said he turned on his blue lights and initiated the traffic stop.
When he approached Colotl's car and asked for her driver's license, Kinsey said the KSU student claimed she had a Mexican driver's license and searched the car's middle consol, the glove box and her purse, eventually saying she couldn't find it and that she must have left it in another purse.
Kinsey also added that he asked for Colotl's registration and several other questions, like where she lived and her birthday. He said that the birthday Colotl gave him and the birthday listed on her registry did not match up. Later, when Colotl took the stand, she attributed the mixup to a mistake on the registration card.
The police officer let Colotl go the morning of March 29, giving her until the next day at noon to come to his office with the driver's license she said she had.
When Colotl appeared in his office at 11:55 a.m. next day without a license, Kinsey arrested her.
Colotl did admit to the court that she was driving without a license on the day of her arrest. Since then, she said, she received her learner's permit on Nov. 5 and is in the process of obtaining her license. She said she passed the written license test and has a driving test scheduled for Nov. 24.
Under a state statute, Colotl's attorneys said that if a person is cited for driving without a driver's license, and then show up at court with a valid Georgia driver's license, then that person should be found not guilty.
Colotl did just that, Lee argued unsuccessfully.
But, Assistant Solicitor Rachel Bearman, who prosecuted the case, disputed that a learner's permit, is not technically a driver's license, since it has certain restrictions that do not allow a person to drive a car alone.
"It's a baby step. It's step one of getting a license," Bearman said in her closing arguments.
When Bearman questioned Colotl on whether or not she had full driving privileges, the KSU student was evasive at first, saying she was "in the process" of getting a license. Eventually Colotl answered, "not yet."
As for the charge of impeding the flow of traffic, Lee argued that Colotl had been stopped in a parking lot, waiting for a space to open up, and wasn't even in traffic.
The jurors were shown a videotape of the traffic stop on March 29, which was recorded from Kinsey's police car. From the video, Lee argued that Colotl was not impeding the flow of traffic, since several cars were able to move around her stopped car, and because there was not much traffic in the parking lot.
Lee also said that not only has Colotl received her learner's permit, but she had also gotten a social security number and work permit.
Illegal immigration activist D.A. King, who was in the courtroom at the beginning of the trial on Thursday morning, said if she was issued a license it was by mistake. King cited Georgia statute 40-5-1, which says that only legal U.S. citizens can be considered Georgia residents and therefore issued a state driver's license.
In March, when Colotl was arrested for the traffic citations, she landed in immigration jail for more than a month because of Cobb County Sheriff's department 287(g) agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency. That agreement allows the Sheriff's office to check the immigration status of every person booked into the county jail.
The Cobb County Sheriff's Office was the first agency in Georgia to participate in 287(g), a program that has become a lightning rod of controversy between illegal and anti-illegal immigration activist. Since Colotl's case burst on the state and national scene in mid-May she has found herself in the middle of the debate.
Of her sudden notoriety, Colotl said she "believes everything happens for a reason." She went on to say she is proud that her case helped bring awareness to the DREAM Act, legislation that would allow illegal immigrants who are students and in good legal standing become permanent residents of the U.S.
"I've grown up in this country, I've adopted all of the American values," Colotl said. "I don't understand why I wouldn't be allowed to stay here."
Colotl said she has returned fulltime to her studies at KSU, and that she plans to graduate in May. She is majoring in political science, with a minor in French and hopes to become an attorney, she said. She said her fellow students do recognize her on campus, and that she has gotten a lot of positive support from the KSU community.
While she does have a learner's permit, Colotl said she is not driving much. She said she is currently living with a sorority sister, although she would not specify whether she was living on or off KSU's campus. She is legally allowed to work in the U.S., but said she does not have a job right now. The KSU student said her attorneys for both the traffic case and immigration case against her are working pro bono.