Hundreds of thousands of people immigrate to the United States annually. Because gaining access in the United States can be challenging, it is important that immigrant residents do not face any legal trouble that could jeopardize this process. Even if someone has a non-immigrant visa or a green card, facing criminal charges could potentially be grounds for deportation. The deportation depends on the crime, especially if it is a crime of moral turpitude.
What is a Crime of Moral Turpitude?
Moral turpitude refers to any conduct that is thought to be a violation against community standards of justice, honesty, or moral good. Although crimes of moral turpitude are not well defined in the United States immigration law, the most common elements include:
- Crimes of dishonesty
- Larceny or Fraud
- Intent to harm
Examples of these elements include theft, assault with the intent to harm or kill, spousal abuse, rape, robbery, incest, child abuse, and DUI charges. There are numerous examples of crimes that involve moral turpitude, so if you or a loved one is facing charges, it is safest to obtain a certified disposition of the offense and give it to a criminal defense attorney. A criminal defense attorney will be able to clarify if the crime involves moral turpitude and will be able to plan a defense strategy accordingly.
Moral Turpitude and Petty Offense
There are certain situations where immigration law provides that if a crime is considered a “petty offense,” then it can possibly escape being classified as a crime of moral turpitude. There are certain elements a charge must have in order for it to be considered a petty offense, such as the potential consequences. For example, if the penalty of the crime would not exceed one year in jail, the crime could be downgraded to a petty offense.
When Can a Person Be Deported?
Despite having a non-immigrant visa or a green card, people may be deported from the United States if:
- The crime of moral turpitude is committed within five years of admittance into the United States and the crime is punishable by a 12-month sentence.
- They have been convicted of two or more crimes involving moral turpitude after being admitted into the United States.
- They have been convicted of an aggravated felony. This includes murder, rape, drug trafficking, money laundering, tax evasion and more.
This is only a short list of potentially deportable crimes. Other crimes involving drugs, illegal firearms, domestic violence, child abuse, terrorist activity and more are all potential grounds for deportation as well.
Because there are numerous grounds for criminal deportation from the United States, it is important to know your rights when facing potential charges. It is imperative to have a skilled criminal defense attorney to help you decipher the elements of your case and whether or not the incident is considered a crime of moral turpitude.
The legal team at the Khonsari Law Group is experienced in an array of criminal defense cases and can help defend your rights. For more information on the Khonsari Law Group, click here, or get a free consultation today.