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What are crimes of moral turpitude?

On Behalf of | Feb 8, 2023 | Immigration Law

During the immigration process, applicants are assessed by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This involves the applicant completing detailed documents as well as taking part in interviews with USCIS officers. The point of these exercises is to assess the applicant’s character and whether or not they are likely to uphold the values associated with the country. 

Thus, criminal offenses are generally frowned upon, whether you are in the process of applying or have already obtained a green card. However, minor offenses will not always impact the residential status of an immigrant. Crimes of moral turpitude, on the other hand, are likely to make immigrating to the U.S. very difficult and they could even result in deportation for those who have residency. 

What exactly are crimes of moral turpitude? 

Malicious intent 

There isn’t a single definition of crimes of moral turpitude but the USCIS does offer some clear guidance. Crimes such as murder, serious sexual offenses and defrauding vulnerable parties will fall into this category. Essentially, the offense must be so serious that it shocks the public conscience. According to the USCIS, conduct that shows malicious intent or gross recklessness will fall into this category. 

Clarity is vital 

If you have been in trouble with the law previously or are currently facing accusations, it is vital to provide a clear picture of the circumstances of your case. Assessing whether or not malicious intent or recklessness was present could make all the difference to your immigration status. 

Protecting your rights 

Your residential status is something that is worth protecting. You should not face deportation for wrongful accusations or minor infractions. Having legal guidance behind you will help you to present your case and reduce the risk of facing severe penalties such as deportation.