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Mevorah Law Offices LLC
DuPage County Attorneys


900 E. Roosevelt Road, Lombard, IL 60148

Phone: 630-932-9100


134 N. Bloomingdale Road, Bloomingdale, IL 60108

Phone: 630-529-4761


333 N. Randall Road, Suite 104, St. Charles, IL 60175

Phone: 630-443-0600


105 W. Madison Street, Suite 2200, Chicago, IL 60602

Phone: 630-932-9100


1730 Park Street, Suite 202, Naperville, IL 60563

Phone: 630-420-1000
Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in crimes of moral turpitude

IL immigration lawyerIf you have a criminal record in any country, your application for immigration to the U.S. may be denied. Immigration officials will evaluate the nature of your crime(s) to determine whether or not you are legally admissible. If you are deemed inadmissible on criminal grounds, you may be able to obtain a waiver of inadmissibility. Your eligibility for a waiver will depend on several factors including the seriousness of the crime and how long ago it occurred.

Definition of Inadmissibility on Criminal Grounds

You will generally be considered inadmissible if you have been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude or if you have multiple criminal convictions. Moral turpitude is broadly defined as acts involving fraud, inherently evil intent, violence against people, and distribution of controlled substances. For example, arson is a crime of moral turpitude because it involves inherently evil intent; trespassing is a crime but not one of moral turpitude.

Crimes That Do Not Require a Waiver of Inadmissibility

A conviction for a crime of moral turpitude will generally make you inadmissible. However, there are several exceptions to this rule commonly referred to as the juvenile, sentencing, and political exceptions. You do not need a waiver of inadmissibility for these crimes:

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IL immigration lawyerU.S. immigration law defines a crime of moral turpitude (CIMT) as being a crime involving conduct that shocks the public conscience, and is “contrary to the rules of morality.” In immigration law, being convicted of a CIMT can render someone deportable. The only way to avoid deportation in such a situation is either to seek a waiver or to avail oneself of what is called the petty offense exception. The exception is not well understood, but it can be very helpful in some immigration cases.

CIMTs Are Subjective

The category of crimes of moral turpitude came into being only within recent memory, and there is no specific written definition of a CIMT within U.S. immigration law. It has been described in various cases as “being inherently base, vile, or depraved” and shocking the public conscience. A variety of crimes from murder to kidnapping to fraud have been classified as CIMTs, and given the vagueness of the law and the definition, it can be quite difficult at times to determine whether you have in fact committed a CIMT or not.

It is important that you not confuse a CIMT with an aggravated felony, as the two have different consequences. Any alien (aside from refugees and asylees) that has been convicted of an aggravated felony is immediately inadmissible to the U.S. and rendered deportable, regardless of immigration status. Aggravated felonies are much more specific (and actually enumerated in law), and there is very little relief to be gained if you are convicted of one. Many aggravated felonies have no waiver possible, which is not the case with crimes of moral turpitude.

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Posted on in Immigration

IL immigration lawyerIf you are an immigrant in the United States, even if you have legal status, you must be especially careful never to be associated with crime or even the smallest mistake may be enough to render you deportable. As such, if you find yourself in criminal court or charged with an offense, it is critical to find an attorney to represent you who understands both criminal law and immigration. If your attorney is not well versed in how the two interplay, you may find yourself plea-bargained into a sentence that will render you deportable even though that may be exactly what you seek to avoid.

Crimes of Moral Turpitude and Aggravated Felonies

U.S. immigration law distinguishes two types of criminal convictions as being relevant for immigration purposes. Crimes of moral turpitude (CIMTs) are offenses that are perceived to have an element of fraud or dishonesty, such as theft, but violent crimes like murder will also count because they are so far outside the realm of ‘acceptable’ moral conduct. It can be difficult to assess whether your offense is a CIMT, however, because the term is not explicitly defined. It has been clarified through past cases, but there is a healthy amount of debate over whether many crimes do in fact count as CIMTs.

Similar issues surround the other type of crime that can be problematic, known as an aggravated felony (AF) - though, paradoxically, a crime need not be ‘aggravated’ or even a felony under criminal law in order for it to count as an AF under immigration law. The classification was created in 1988 and at the time, only encompassed a few offenses, but with the passage of the Illegal Immigration Reform & Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA), the category was expanded significantly. A violent crime is almost always guaranteed to be an AF, but if a person commits a crime that does not involve any violence, it can be hard to say.

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DuPage County deportation defense attorneys, crimes of moral turpitudeIf you are an immigrant in the United States, you have likely heard of an aggravated felony, or are at least aware that committing a crime described as an aggravated felony can have serious immigration consequences. However, depending on your circumstances, you may not have heard of crimes of moral turpitude (CMTs). Until you obtain citizenship, if you so desire, committing a CMT can still have serious consequences for your immigration status.

Definitions and History

The designation of crimes of moral turpitude appeared in U.S. immigration law for the first time in the late 19th century, where it was defined as a crime involving conduct that is inherently dishonest or otherwise wrong; a crime that involves malice (‘malum in se’) rather than being wrong simply because there is a law against it (‘malum prohibitum’). For example, pedestrians crossing the street outside the confines of a crosswalk is not an inherently wrong act, but rather it is unlawful (‘malum prohibitum’). Conversely, deliberately striking a pedestrian with your automobile is inherently wrong and immoral (‘malum in se,’ which would qualify as a crime involving moral turpitude).

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Posted on in Immigration

appeals process, application denied, crimes of moral turpitude, DuPage County immigration lawyers, immigrant, non-immigrant visa, visa applicationWhen you file a petition for an immigrant or non-immigrant visa, it goes to the desk of a U.S. consul. The petition may be approved, and it may also be denied. If your petition is denied, it can completely upend your plans, as well as many factors in your life. It is important not to give up hope though, and to do your research into what you need to do to appeal.

Why Petitions Are Denied

There are a host of reasons why visa petitions are denied, but the most common reason is a lack of persuasive evidence showing that the eligibility requirements have been met. In simpler terms, not enough documentation is provided. There are other reasons as well; for example, certain criminal convictions, like crimes of moral turpitude, will almost certainly get your petition denied. Crimes of moral turpitude are crimes which involve intent to cause great bodily harm, defraud or deceive and include fraud, human trafficking, and murder. However, eligibility is the main reason; for a non-immigrant, the consul may be unconvinced that you have ties strong enough to return to your home country, which is a major criteria for the visa to be granted. Or, you may have insufficient evidence of financial support.

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