Crimes involving moral turpitude (CIMT) can impede or cause an immigrant to be denied citizenship on the grounds of inadmissibility. These crimes can also result in the immigrant being removed from the country.
Therefore, if you or a family member is attempting to obtain a green card but have a criminal background, you must consult with an experienced immigration attorney.
Our law firm is committed to assisting individuals in obtaining the American dream. One of our knowledgeable attorneys will happily sit down with you, answer your questions, and explain your legal options.
What Are Examples of Crimes of Moral Turpitude?
Crimes of moral turpitude refer to conduct that the general public would consider vile, depraved, or contrary to society’s rules of mortality.
Crimes of moral turpitude encompass a wide variety of charges, all of which can have a negative effect on an immigrant’s ability to obtain a green card.
Some crimes of moral turpitude include:
- Animal fighting
- Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon
- Child abuse
- Spousal abuse
- Voluntary/ involuntary manslaughter
Any attempt, conspiracy, or acting as an accessory to any crime listed above will also qualify as a crime of moral turpitude in immigration law.
How Can Criminal Acts Affect an Immigrant’s Ability to Obtain Citizenship?
Crimes of moral turpitude are highly relevant to individuals trying to immigrate to the United States. Therefore, USCIS believes that if an applicant has CIMTs in their criminal history, they should be prevented from gaining a green card.
CIMTs provide legal grounds for inadmissibility to anyone applying for status for the first time or those wishing to adjust their status in the U.S.
Additionally, individuals should be aware that USCIS routinely checks the immigration status of incarcerated individuals. Therefore, it is not uncommon for an individual to be released from jail or prison only to be detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to face deportation proceedings.
ICE also has the legal authority to detain individuals who have not been released from police custody but have reason to suspect they have been involved in criminal activities.
Are There Any Exceptions to Immigration Laws Regarding Criminal Offenses?
There are, however, exceptions to immigration laws concerning criminal offenses. Exceptions include:
- Petty offense exception: This exception may be applied if the non-citizen is convicted of a CIMT for which the maximum penalty is only one-year of incarceration but only receives a sentence of 6 months or less.
- Youthful offender exception: If a non-citizen committed a CIMT when they were under the age of 18 and the incident occurred more than 5 years before applying for status, the offense may not be held against them. However, this rule does not apply if a juvenile had their case transferred to adult court.
If you or a family member is unsure whether you qualify for an exemption, contact our law offices to schedule a meeting with a knowledgeable immigration attorney who can review your case.
How Can an Immigration Attorney Help an Individual With a Criminal History?
If you are an immigrant convicted of a CIMT, you could face deportation or removal proceedings. Therefore, you must obtain effective legal representation to fight for your rights.
However, there are several legal strategies that a skilled immigration attorney can utilize to try and help you retain your status, which include:
- Filing a motion to have the immigrant re-sentenced to avoid a conviction for a CIMT that qualifies for deportation.
- Filing a motion to overturn the criminal conviction based on ineffective counsel on the part of your defense attorney.
- Filing to have the guilty plea withdrawn because the court did not properly advise the immigrant of the legal consequences of their plea.
- Filing for an expungement of the charges.
If you are an immigrant convicted of a crime of moral turpitude, you must contact a skilled immigration attorney who can fight for your future. Our law firm has a proven track record of being able to assist clients who may be in jeopardy of losing their status or being deported.
Contact SwagatUSA LLC today at 773-825-8695 to learn how we can help you fight to stay on the path to citizenship.