Will committing a crime of moral turpitude mean deportation?

Crimes of moral turpitude are those in a specific category of offense. As a result of the kind of crime it is, there is potential for an immigration case to be impacted.

A crime of moral turpitude is one that is defined as being particularly immoral or depraved, violating the basic duties owed to others. Some specific crimes that may be of moral turpitude include:

  • Murder
  • Involuntary manslaughter (in some cases)
  • Incest
  • Spousal abuse
  • Rape
  • Voluntary manslaughter
  • Kidnapping
  • Robbery
  • Aggravated assault

The point to remember is that the definition of a crime of moral turpitude is not precise. Some people may face claims of committing a crime of moral turpitude despite the fact that the specific crime isn’t listed by the government.

When is a crime of moral turpitude sufficient to begin deportation proceedings?

Generally speaking, crimes that have a sentence of confinement of a year or longer are enough to qualify as crimes of moral turpitude that would lead to deportation proceedings. Those with penalties under a year in length are less likely to be used as grounds for deportation. This is why the way a person is charged matters so much. For instance, an assault might not lead to deportation proceedings, but an aggravated assault may.

Why are crimes of moral turpitude so loosely defined?

It is difficult to paint all crimes with the same brush, so trying to include them in strict categories is difficult. For example, although assaults with weapons are considered to be crimes of moral turpitude, those without weapons may not be. Being an accessory to a crime might involve moral turpitude if the underlying offense does.

What should you do if you’re accused of committing a crime of moral turpitude?

If you are an immigrant who is facing charges for committing or being an accessory to a crime of moral turpitude, it’s important for you to start putting together a defense. Depending on how you’re charged, you may be able to stay in the United States, even if you do end up with a conviction. Your attorney will work closely with you to help prevent unfair penalties and to reduce the risk of deportation.