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What is a Crime of Moral Turpitude?

A crime of moral turpitude is an offense that is contrary to socially accepted moral conduct. It is a general term that refers to a wide range of offenses. Most commonly, it is used when discussing offenses committed by individuals who are not citizens of the United States, including both lawful permanent residents and individuals who are in the country temporarily or without proper documentation. Being convicted of most crimes of moral turpitude can result in being deported from the country and in many cases, barred from re-entering the United States for years or even the rest of the defendant’s life. Because of the impact this can have on an individual and his or her family, it is important that any individual charged with a crime of moral turpitude work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to defend their case.

Examples of Crimes of Moral Turpitude

A crime of moral turpitude is defined by the Board of Immigration Appeals as any offense that “shocks the public conscience as being inherently base, vile, or depraved, contrary to the rules of morality and the duties owed between man and man, either one’s fellow man or society in general.” This definition is subjective, so one judge might deem an offense to be a crime of moral turpitude that another might not.

Examples of offenses that may deemed “crimes of moral turpitude” include:

  • Assault;
  • Animal fighting;
  • Murder;
  • Incest;
  • Rape;
  • Involuntary manslaughter and in some cases, manslaughter;
  • Theft;
  • Fraud;
  • Kidnapping;
  • Child abuse;
  • Domestic violence;
  • Robbery; and
  • Conspiracy.

If an offense can be reasonably considered to be immoral and destructive to other people, it can generally be deemed to be a crime of moral turpitude. As you can see, an offense does not necessarily have to be a violent crime to be deemed a crime of moral turpitude; theft and fraud can also earn this designation under certain circumstances. In contrast, lesser offenses like traffic violations and shoplifting are not crimes of moral turpitude.

If you are deported, you can potentially be barred from entering the United States again for as few as five or as many as 20 years. In some cases, an individual may be deemed inadmissible to the United States. Usually, this is the case for individuals who are convicted of crimes of moral turpitude.

Work with a Miami Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with any type of criminal offense, it is important that you work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to defend your case. Working with the right lawyer can mean the difference between having your charge lowered or dismissed and being convicted and having to face a possible deportation. To learn more, contact our team of Miami criminal defense lawyers at Ratzan & Faccidomo, LLC today to schedule your initial legal consultation with us. Do not wait to make the call – be proactive and start working on your case’s defense with a member of our firm today.

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