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Crimes of Moral Turpitude and How They May Affect Your Immigration Status

Posted by Ramona Kennedy | Jan 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

The United States, and even local states such as California have laws that every person in the United States must follow. Some of these laws would be considered low level offenses such as a speeding ticket or parking violation. Crimes that a person would not typically go to jail for committing. Usually a violation of these low-level crimes would result in some sort of monetary fine. The high-level crimes, these crimes are known as Crimes of Moral Turpitude.

These are the crimes that if a person is found guilty of committing would face years in jail. For a foreign national living in the state of California for example, committing a Crime of Moral Turpitude could lead to the foreign national being deported back to his or her home country, along with other serious punishments.

Not only is there an immediate threat of prison associated with crimes of moral turpitude but being convicted of such a crime can have a long-term affect. Being convicted of a crime of moral turpitude may prevent a foreign national from becoming a US citizen, becoming a legal permanent resident (Green Card holder), or even apply for an Adjustment of Status.

Other consequences of committing a Crime of Moral Turpitude include issue with credibility. This applies for citizens, legal permanent residents, non-immigration visa holders, and even illegal immigrants. If a person who committed a crime of moral turpitude is ever called to testify at a trial (witness), the opposing lawyer may let the jury know that the witness had committed a crime of moral turpitude. This may affect the credibility of the witness and may hurt the testimony of the witness.

There is no real definition of what a Crime of Moral Turpitude is. It all depends on the type of crime that was committed, the judge overseeing the trial, and how the prosecutor handles the case. Usually though, such a crime involves: dishonesty, fraud, and/ or anti-social behavior that harms others

With all that said, below is a list of some of the major offenses in California that have been held to be Crimes of Moral Turpitude:

Assault with Intent to commit murder

Attempted lewd acts on a minor



Child abuse,

Criminal Threats

Domestic violence when committed against your spouse

Failure to register as a sex offender

Felon in possession of a firearm

Felony hit and run

Grand theft auto



Possession for sale of controlled substances


Receiving stolen property


Voluntary manslaughter

Welfare fraud

Involuntary manslaughter (in some cases)

Child abuse



Animal fighting

Conspiracy, attempt, or acting as an accessory to a crime if that crime involved moral turpitude.

This is an immigration legal blog. It is not intended to be used as legal advice. For further information please contact the law offices of attorney Ramona Kennedy.

Ramona Kennedy (Attorney) received her Jurisprudence Doctorate in America and is a licensed attorney in California (USA). Ramona Kennedy is a member of American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Ramona Kennedy is fluent in English and Farsi (reading & writing) & speaks Azeri Turkish.

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About the Author

Ramona Kennedy

Attorney Ramona Kennedy is a Compassionate attorney who cares and will fight for you A vivid reader, attorney Kennedy was inspired by her father who passionately attributed to her academic & personal growth. Her Father was a very kind, highly intelligent, disciplined & dedicated family man in un...


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