What are Crimes of Moral Turpitude in California?

Criminal offenses are usually classified as either misdemeanors or felony offenses, but there are many other classifications that crimes can fall under and depending on the type of offense it can have implications in a criminal case. This includes offenses known as crimes of “moral turpitude”. At the Law Offices of Omar Gastelum and Associates, our experienced criminal defense attorneys are prepared to protect and defend your rights after being accused of committing a crime in the Los Angeles area. To learn more, call or contact our office today.

Examples of Crimes of Moral Turpitude

Crimes of moral turpitude is an umbrella term used to describe a wide variety of criminal activities that involve dishonesty or depraved conduct that would be shocking to a reasonable person. A crime of moral turpitude can have negative consequences on immigration status, professional discipline hearings, and can be used to impeach the credibility of a witness. Examples of criminal offenses labeled as crimes of moral turpitude include the following:

  • Aggravated assault,
  • Attempted lewd acts on a minor,
  • Arson,
  • Burglary,
  • Child abuse,
  • Criminal threats,
  • Domestic violence,
  • Embezzlement,
  • Failure to register as a sex offender,
  • Felon in possession of a firearm,
  • Felony hit and run,
  • Forgery,
  • Fraud,
  • Murder,
  • Perjury,
  • Possession for sale of controlled substances,
  • Rape,
  • Robbery, and
  • Voluntary manslaughter

 What are Not Crimes of Moral Turpitude?

All crimes of moral turpitude must have an element of intent to deceive or to commit an offense deemed vile, base, evil, or lacking in morality. However, this means that no crime involving a mistake, accident, or bad judgment can be classified as a crime of moral turpitude because it lacks the necessary element of intent. Examples of criminal acts that would not be classified as crimes of moral turpitude include the following:

  • Child endangerment,
  • First offense driving under the influence,
  • Involuntary manslaughter,
  • Possession of marijuana, and
  • Simple assault

Effects on Immigration Status

One of the most significant aspects of being convicted of a crime of moral turpitude is the impact on immigration status. Under federal immigration law, crimes of moral turpitude have the potential to result in deportation or labeling a non-citizen as inadmissible. In order to be deported for crimes of moral turpitude, a person must be convicted of the offense, receive a jail sentence of longer than one year, and have it occur within five years of entering the United States. A person can also be deported if they are convicted of two separate crimes of moral turpitude stemming from two different criminal activities, regardless of sentence or when they happen.

A person can be deemed inadmissible if they are found guilty of any crime of moral turpitude and admit to all the elements of the offense. Inadmissible people are unable to receive green cards, apply for adjustment of status, reenter the United States after leaving, or naturalize United States citizenship.

Talk to Our Office

Do you have more questions about crimes of moral turpitude? If so, the experienced criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Omar Gastelum and Associates are here to help. Call or contact our office to schedule a consultation of your case today.