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What is a crime involving moral turpitude?

There are two categories of criminal offenses that can affect your immigration status. The first is called a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT), the other are Aggravated Felonies.

A crime involving moral turpitude is not a specific offense. Instead, a crime involving moral turpitude is a classification that can be assigned to a crime. If the crime you have been charged with is classified as a crime of moral turpitude you could face additional consequences. These consequences can limit your credibility as a witness, cause you to lose professional licenses, and even result in your deportation from the country.

Defining Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude

There is not set statutory definition for a crime involving moral turpitude. Instead, the definition has emerged and evolved in court decisions over the years. Crimes involving moral turpitude have been defined to be those crimes that involve conduct that is reckless, evil, and/or morally reprehensible. Specifically, a crime may be considered a a crime involving moral turpitude if it has any of the following characteristics:

  1. Shocking to the public conscience;
  2. Vile or depraved;
  3. Contrary to the rules, morality, and duties of society.

Under current US law, moral turpitude is a legal term that includes offenses generally deemed morally reprehensible and intrinsically wrong. They relate to crimes including (but not limited to):

  • Crimes against the person: such as murder, manslaughter, rape, gross indecency, serious assaults, kidnapping, child abuse, child abandonment.
  • Crimes against property: such as arson, burglary, theft, robbery, fraud, receiving stolen property.
  • Crimes against government authority: such as benefit fraud, tax evasion, bribery, perjury.

Exceptions can however apply including petty offenses, juvenile crimes that meet the relevant criteria, and purely political offenses. Crimes without intent or under recklessness are not classed as crimes involving moral turpitude.

What does this mean for me?

Like much of the Immigration and Naturalization Act and the caselaw, determining what counts as a CIMT can be complicated. If you are concerned about how this may apply to you, you need to discuss it with the immigration law specialists at Muhaisen & Muhaisen, LLC. We have a wealth of experience dealing with prosecutors and immigration authorities to get successful results for our clients. Do not ever agree to resolve a criminal matter without consulting attorneys qualified in both criminal defense and immigration law, like our lawyers. Contact us today at (303) 407-0453 or by filling out our online contact form: https://www.m2lawyers.com/contact-us/