Throughout much of the country’s history, the United States government has used the criminal justice system to prevent certain immigrants from entering the country and to deport immigrants already in the U.S. The term “moral turpitude” first appeared in the Immigration Act of 1891, and this and other laws have held immigrants to a high moral standard. The Immigration Act of 1996 added even more vague language surrounding crimes involving moral turpitude (CIMT), and it gave law enforcement agencies and state officials the ability to broadly define these types of crimes in immigration cases.
What Is a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude?
According to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), a crime involving moral turpitude is “an act which is…morally reprehensible and intrinsically wrong.” The BIA has also stated that a CIMT is any crime that involves conduct that is “inherently base, vile or depraved, and contrary to the accepted rules of morality and the duties owed between people or to society in general.” Many officials have pointed out that the definitions of CIMTs are very broad and that there are no specific crimes that are always classified as CIMTs.
Crimes involving moral turpitude are determined on a case-by-case basis, though crimes involving the following tend to be classified as CIMTs:
- Theft or intent to defraud
- Intent to cause bodily harm
- Recklessness that results in serious bodily harm
- Offenses involving the use of a weapon
- Sexual misconduct
- Drug offenses involving sale or distribution
Will I Be Deported if I Am Convicted of a CIMT?
Just because you are convicted of a CMIT does not mean you will automatically be deported or removed from the United States. According to federal law, an immigrant must have been convicted of a CIMT within five years after their date of entry and be sentenced to one year or more of confinement to be eligible for deportation. The laws also allow an immigrant to be deported if he or she is convicted of two or more crimes involving moral turpitude, regardless of when he or she entered the U.S. and whether or not he or she was confined.
Consult With a Connecticut Criminal Defense Attorney Today
The United States has always been a place where immigrants could come to escape the political, social and economic turmoil of their own countries. Unfortunately, the U.S. has strict immigration laws that can result in deportation if you are not careful. If you have been accused of a crime involving moral turpitude, you need a knowledgeable Hartford, CT criminal defense lawyer by your side. At the Woolf Law Firm, we can help you defend your right to live and work in the United States. To schedule a free consultation, call our office today at 860-290-8690.