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What is a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude?

A Crime Involving Moral Turpitude ("CIMT") is a classification applied to certain offenses. These offenses can range from misdemeanors to felonies, and cover crimes involving fraud and bodily injury, among others. If you have a criminal conviction, and it is a CIMT, you can be barred from entering the country (or receiving a visa or green card), and be deported from the country (even if you have lawful status). Read on to learn more about CIMTs.

 

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Definition of a CIMT

There is no statutory definition of a CIMT, however the Courts have described them as offenses which are "inherently base, vile or depraved, contrary to accepted rules of morality." Examples of CIMT offenses include crimes with an intent to steal or defraud (e.g., theft, forgery), crimes in which bodily harm is intentionally caused, reckless acts where serious bodily harm occurs, and most sex offenses.

 

Consequences Vary by State

 

Due to each State having different statutes for criminal offenses, a conviction for Assault may be a CIMT in one State but not another. Case law governs whether a specific crime is a CIMT, and research by an attorney needs to be performed to have a definitive answer on whether your conviction is a CIMT.

 

What happens if I have a CIMT?

Having a CIMT conviction could result in you being ineligible to receive a visa or green card. You could also be deported. Proper research by an attorney could show your offense is NOT a CIMT. There are also important exceptions to having a CIMT conviction that you should know about.

 

Contact Saenz & Maniatis, PLLC


The experienced attorneys at Saenz & Maniatis, PLLC can answer your immigration and criminal law questions. For information on how your criminal record affects your immigration options, call (615) 366-1211 or (615) 366-1611 to set up an appointment!

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