If you are an immigrant living in the United States, you certainly know that breaking the law can have undesirable consequences. It could even affect your continued stay in the country.
While you can’t be deported for all kinds of crimes, there is a special category of offenses that could get you in serious trouble with immigration officials. They are known as crimes of moral turpitude. Here is what you need to know about such crimes.
There is no clear-cut definition of these crimes
Crimes of moral turpitude are vaguely defined and are often open to legal interpretation. These crimes involve immoral actions that violate the basic duties owed to others. They also include an element of intention and recklessness by the perpetrator.
Crimes such as fraud, murder, kidnapping, rape, and manslaughter may all meet the threshold of crimes of moral turpitude, although that list is not exhaustive. What you may think is a minor crime can qualify to be a crime of moral turpitude, and the legal ramifications can be serious.
When can you be deported for a crime of moral turpitude?
You may be deported after two or more convictions of crimes of moral turpitude that occur any time after admission to the U.S. on a visa or after adjustment of status.
You could also face deportation if you are convicted, within five years of admission to the country, of a crime of moral turpitude that carries a sentence of more than one year.
Do not take any chances with the law
If you are facing any kind of criminal charges as an immigrant, avoiding a conviction is in your best interests. You never know which side of the divide your offense falls in, given the vagueness of crimes of moral turpitude. Even when your charges seem minor, you just can’t afford to take any chances of letting your case run its course and expecting the best in the end.