Moral Turpitude is a phrase that describes wicked, deviant behavior constituting an immoral, unethical, or unjust departure from ordinary social standards. If you’re charged with a crime – either a misdemeanor or a felony – having the words “crime of moral turpitude” attached to it can mean serious consequences. Some activities are criminalized due to their tendency to disturb the peace, create a public nuisance, or threaten a sense of public morality. These crimes include disorderly conduct, rioting, public indecency, vagrancy and loitering, gang activity, prostitution and solicitation, obscenity, and cruelty to animals. Although they’re not easily understood, crimes of moral turpitude can have long-lasting impacts on a person’s life. This is especially true if you hold a professional license or are an immigrant.
What is Moral Turpitude?
Moral Turpitude are Crimes of which are in general, shameful wickedness – so extreme a departure from ordinary standards of honesty, good morals, justice, or ethics as to be shocking to the moral sense of the community. If there is confusion over whether or not to use the “crime of moral turpitude” term with offenses, a judge or jury will typically consider the person’s state of mind or intent at the time of the crime.
Are Any Crimes, Not crimes Involving Moral Turpitude?
Not all crimes are classified as crimes involving moral turpitude. There have been many times when courts have determined that particular crimes do not rise to the level of depravity or evilness that’s inherent in a crime involving moral turpitude. These crimes typically won’t be classified as a crime involving moral turpitude unless the offense involves certain aggravating facts. A crime involving moral turpitude is not a specific offense. Instead, it’s a classification that can be assigned to a crime. This means that a crime that’s classified as a crime involving moral turpitude in one case may not be classified as a crime involving moral turpitude in another case. In short, a crime of moral turpitude is up to the courts to decide.
What Are the Consequences of a Convicted Crime of Moral Turpitude?
Crimes involving moral turpitude carry additional consequences that can be quite devastating. In addition to typical criminal penalties, you can also face consequences involving immigration, employment, and your reputation. Because crimes of moral turpitude are actually a reflection of your integrity and your ability, to tell the truth, a conviction for such a crime can have a serious impact on your life. If you are convicted of moral turpitude it will affect your:
- Employment – If your job requires you to have a professional license, a crime of moral turpitude conviction could place it in jeopardy. Often, the professional boards that issue the licenses will impose either suspension or revocation for crimes of moral turpitude.
- Witness Credibility -If you are ever called a witness in a court case, your credibility will definitely be doubted by the opposing attorney because of a previous conviction for a crime of moral turpitude.
- Immigration-Convictions for crimes of moral turpitude can have a significant impact on a person’s immigration status. The Immigration Act of 1917 first made it the law to deport people for committing crimes of moral turpitude. The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 then allowed for the exclusion of people entering the county based on such crimes. Today, an immigrant already living in the U.S. or seeking to enter the country could face the real possibility of deportation or be ruled inadmissible because of such a conviction. There is, however, a “petty offense exception” related to deportation or denial of admission to the country. If there is just one offense and the maximum sentence does not last for more than a year, the crime will most likely not result in deportation or denial of admission.
Although being charged with any crime is a serious issue, a conviction for a crime of moral turpitude can lead to life-altering results for your professional and personal life. Because of the vagueness and complexity of the term, a skilled criminal defense attorney often negotiates with prosecutors for a plea to a lesser crime – one that doesn’t include moral turpitude – or to have the charges reduced or dropped altogether. Your best option after being charged is to speak with a criminal defense attorney.
Contact us (859-341-2500) for a Free Consultation!
About Grubbs & Landry
At Grubbs & Landry, PLLC, we are dedicated to personal and friendly service. We manage our practice in an ethical, cost-effective manner to best help our clients resolve their legal issues with the least expense possible. We pride ourselves in advocating for our client in divorce, child custody, and child support matters as well as other family law matters. We are active in prosecuting personal injury cases-recovering for the injuries our clients sustain due to the negligence of others. Additionally, we help our clients prepare for the future through the preparation of Wills, Power of Attorney and Living Will.