Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude

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What Are Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude “CIMT”?

Moral Turpitude is actually not defined under the Immigration and Nationality Act “INA” but courts have recognized that moral turpitude general means conduct that is inherently dishonest, base, vile, or depraved, and contrary to the accepted rules of morality and the duties owed between persons or to society in general. For purposes of this section it is important to point out that shoplifting under New Jersey law 2C:20-11(b)2 is considered a CIMT. However, there are several other offenses that may be considered crimes involving moral turpitude which are worth mentioning. These crimes include murder, voluntary manslaughter, kidnapping, rape, fraud, domestic violence, aggravated assault, assaults against vulnerable people (such as children, elderly, mentally disabled), lewd conduct toward a child, knowing possession of child pornography, driving under the influence without a license, theft offenses, robbery, receiving stolen property with guilty knowledge, forgery, embezzlement, extortion, perjury, and willful tax evasion. Offenses that may fall outside the definition of CIMT including simple assault, unlawful entry, damaging private property, escape, possession of altered or fraudulent document and indecent exposure. No matter what the exact circumstances of your case are, if you are not a U.S. citizen and have been charged with a crime, whether you suspect it could a CIMT or not, it is always recommended that you speak with an immigration attorney before you do anything in court that could adversely affect your immigration status in the United States. As shoplifting criminal defense lawyers we often work hand in hand with immigration attorneys in the defense of our clients against shoplifting charges and related crimes in New Jersey.

Can A CIMT Result in Removal or Deportation?

Unfortunately the simple answer is Yes – but it is not clear cut and the potential immigration consequences for a shoplifting conviction can differ greatly depending on the facts. Specifically, any alien or non-citizen who is convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude is deportable when (1) the potential term of imprisonment is one year or greater and (2) the offense was committed within 5 years of your admission into the United States, or within 10 years of your admission into the country if you were granted lawful permanent resident status due to your substantial contribution and assistance in a criminal investigation or prosecution. The President of the United States or a Governor of your state are the only ones that can grant a full and unconditional pardon to waive your deportability from a criminal conviction. In situations where you have been convicted of two or more CIMTs that did not arise out of the same course of conduct then there will no longer be a requirement that the charges were punishable by at least one year in prison in order for deportation proceedings to be commenced. Moreover, it is important to note the actual imposition of incarceration from a shoplifting or other CIMT conviction is not a requirement for the government to start removal proceedings. To learn more about how we may be able to defend your criminal case in order to help you avoid potential immigration problems, contact our office today for a free consultation with one of our New Jersey shoplifting lawyers.