Individuals who immigrate to the U.S. must follow the same laws as everyone else – but they often face harsher penalties than regular citizens for their mistakes.
Many immigrants wonder if a misdemeanor charge will result in deportation. While each situation is unique, there are situations when deportation is possible. One is a conviction for a crime of moral turpitude.
What is a crime of moral turpitude?
There’s no specific definition for a crime of moral turpitude. While this is true, a general way to view this is any crime that is considered reprehensible, immoral or shocking to the public conscience.
Some examples that are often considered crimes of moral turpitude by California courts include assault, theft, fraud, drug crimes, homicide, prostitution or another crime involving dishonesty. It’s important to remember, too, that what may be legal under state law (like cannabis possession for adults) can still be a crime of moral turpitude under federal law.
What’s the possibility of deportation?
If you are charged with a crime of moral turpitude and convicted within five years of coming into the United States, there’s a real possibility you could be deported. To qualify for deportation under 8 U.S.C. § 1251(a)(2)(A)(i), the conviction must also result in a sentence of one year or more behind bars.
It’s important to know your legal rights if you are charged with a crime of moral turpitude – and it’s equally important to mount a strong defense. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you better understand what may happen and how to build a strong defense that will protect your future and your right to remain in the United States.