What are crimes of moral turpitude? 

On Behalf of | Jan 30, 2023 | Immigration Explained

Criminal offenses operate on a spectrum, with some crimes being more serious than others. While serious in their own right, crimes such as drunk driving are usually not categorized as “crimes of moral turpitude”. 

The most serious crimes, however, are often called crimes of moral turpitude. Not only do such offenses involve lengthy prison sentences and significant fines, but they can also impact your immigration status.

So, what exactly does a “crime of moral turpitude” mean and which offenses fall into this category? 

Defining crimes of moral turpitude 

There is no single definition of what counts as a crime of moral turpitude. Nonetheless, there are some principles that the courts broadly agree upon. Firstly, offenses that defraud vulnerable individuals typically fall into this category. For example, if the accused party has been involved in fraudulent activity that has specifically targeted elderly and vulnerable individuals.

Crimes of moral turpitude generally have an element of shock present as well. For instance, serious sexual crimes, crimes that involve severe violence and both physical and emotional trauma to the victims. 

Consequences of a conviction 

A conviction based on a crime of moral turpitude will involve severe penalties. If you are an immigrant to the US, then your legal status to remain could be impacted and you may face deportation. 

Of course, accusations of criminal offenses, even those involving crimes of moral turpitude, must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. If you are facing charges, then it’s important to build a defense strategy, not only for your liberty but for your right to remain in the USA. Having legal guidance behind you will help to protect your rights.