A crime of moral turpitude (CIMT) is defined by case law, not by statute. To be a CIMT, the offense must involve (1) reprehensible conduct; and(2) mens rea higher than negligence. CIMT comes into consideration when immigration courts are making decisions whether someone shall be denied entry into the United States or deportation from the United States. The Board of Immigration Appeals [the Board] held in Matter of Perez-Contreras, 20 I&N Dec. 615, 617-18 (BIA 1992) that:
“[M]oral turpitude is a nebulous concept, which refers generally to conduct that shocks the public conscience as being inherently base, vile, or depraved, contrary to the rules of morality and the duties owed between man and man, either one’s fellow man or society in general. Assault may or may not involve moral turpitude. Simple assault is generally not considered to be a crime involving moral turpitude.
In determining whether a crime involves moral turpitude, we consider whether the act is accompanied by a vicious motive or corrupt mind. Where knowing or intentional conduct is an element of an offense, we have found moral turpitude to be present. However, where the required mens rea may not be determined from the statute, moral turpitude does not in here.“
Criminal Lawyers and Immigration
If you are charged with a crime of moral turpitude you must concult with a criminal lawyer. Crimes of moral turpitude can cause deportation and even if you complete a diversion program it can still cause issues. Criminal lawyers must know the complex issues of immigration when advising clients. A simple misdemeanor like sexual solicitation in the District of Columbia can cause denied entry into the United States. So, you must examine all the collateral consequences before you decide to resolve your case. Furthermore, the area of immigration is constantly changing in this political climate.