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How Do Crimes of Moral Turpitude Affect Immigration Cases?

Posted on in Immigration

orlando immigration lawyersImmigrants who wish to come to the United States or those who are currently living in the U.S. will want to understand the potential issues that could affect their immigration status, including factors that could make them inadmissible or lead to deportation. Criminal convictions are one issue that can play a role in immigration cases, including convictions of “crimes involving moral turpitude.” By understanding the types of crimes that fall into this category, immigrants can be prepared to address these matters correctly.

What Is a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude?

While the U.S. immigration laws state that a person is inadmissible to the United States if they have been convicted of one or more crimes involving moral turpitude (also known as CIMTs), the specific offenses that fall into this category are not specified. However, courts have interpreted this law as referring to any types of offenses involving actions that are shocking, vile, or depraved. These crimes may include offenses such as:

  • Murder/homicide
  • Voluntary or involuntary manslaughter
  • Sexual assault
  • Aggravated assault
  • Robbery
  • Kidnapping
  • Domestic abuse
  • Animal cruelty
  • Fraud

CIMTs may also involve conspiracies to commit one of the above offenses, attempted crimes, or acting as an accomplice to another perpetrator. 

A crime of moral turpitude may affect a person’s immigration status if they were convicted of an applicable offense either in the United States or in another country. A conviction may include a guilty plea or a finding of guilt in criminal courts. However, if a person participated in a pretrial diversion program such as being sentenced to probation without a plea or finding of guilt, this will not be considered a conviction. A person’s immigration status may also be affected if they make an admission that they committed a CIMT to an immigration official or a judge in immigration court, even if they are not convicted in a criminal court.

A CIMT may lead to deportation if it was committed within five years after a person was admitted to the United States and if it had a maximum sentence of at least one year in prison. A person who is convicted of two or more CIMTs may be deportable, as long as these offenses were not part of a “single scheme.” 

If a person is inadmissible due to a CIMT, they may qualify for a petty offense exception. This exception will apply if the maximum sentence for the offense was one year, and they were sentenced to six months or less. A person may also qualify for a youthful offender exception if they committed a CIMT while they were under the age of 18, and their conviction and/or release from prison occurred at least five years before they applied for admission to the United States.

Contact Our St. Petersburg Deportation Defense Attorneys

If you are facing deportation due to criminal convictions, or if past convictions may affect your ability to immigrate to the U.S., Vasquez Law Firm, PLLC can advise you of your options. We will work with you to resolve these matters and determine how you can enter or continue living in the United States. Contact our Orlando immigration lawyers at 407-955-5000 to arrange a free consultation.

Sources:

https://www.ilrc.org/sites/default/files/resources/all_those_rules_cimt_june_2021_final.pdf

https://www.justice.gov/archives/jm/criminal-resource-manual-1934-appendix-d-grounds-judicial-deportation

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