How to avoid a charge of a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT) that may cause you removable

A crime involving moral turpitude can make you inadmissible and deportable. DHS will find inadmissibility when you travel outside the U.S. and then return. You will be sent to second interview where they will ask you questions about the crime committed. To be safe you should consult an immigration attorney before travelling outside the U.S.

Traditionally a CIMT involves intent to commit fraud, commit theft with intent to permanently deprive the owner, or inflict great bodily harm, as well as some reckless or malicious offenses and some offenses with lewd intent.

A noncitizen is Deportable for One Conviction of a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude (“CIMT”) if:
a) Convicted
b) Of one CIMT
c) That has a potential sentence of one year or more
d) And was committed within five years after date of admission
In you have a criminal case, you should ask your lawyer to prevent deportability for a single CIMT by asking to:
a) Avoid a “conviction” by getting pre‐plea diversion or treatment in juvenile proceedings; or
b) Plead to an offense that is not a CIMT; or
c) Avoid a potential one‐year sentence by pleading to a misdemeanor with a six‐month maximum sentence.
Or in California plead to attempt to commit either a one‐year misdemeanor or a felony that can be reduced to a misdemeanor, for a maximum possible sentence of six months; or
d) Plead to an incident that happened more than five years after the “date of admission.” This is usually the date the person was first admitted into the U.S. with any kind of visa or card.
Or, if the person entered the U.S. without inspection – i.e., never was admitted on any visa – it is the date that the person became a permanent resident by “adjusting status” within the U.S.

If the person left the U.S. after becoming inadmissible for crimes, or for more than six months sentence, get more advice from your attorney.

A noncitizen is Deportable for Conviction of Two or More CIMTs After Admission if:
a) Both convictions must be after the person was admitted to the U.S. in some status, or adjusted status
b) The convictions may not spring from the same incident (“single scheme”)

A noncitizen is INADMISSIBLE FOR MORAL TURPITUDE, 8 USC 1182(a)(2)(A) if:

Inadmissible for One or More Convictions of a CIMT

There is an exception which is Petty Offense Exception automatically means the person is not inadmissible for CIMT

To qualify for the exception:
a) Defendant must have committed only one CIMT ever
b) The offense must have a potential sentence of one year or less. Here a one‐year misdemeanor, or a felony wobbled down to a misdemeanor, will qualify for the exception.
c) Sentence imposed is six months or less. For example, suspended imposition of sentence, three years probation, six months jail ordered as a condition of probation will qualify. Youthful Offender Exception applies rarely, but benefits youth who were convicted as adults.

A noncitizen is not inadmissible for CIMT if he or she committed only one CIMT ever, while under the age of 18, and the conviction or resulting imprisonment occurred at least five years ago.

Note: This is not a legal advice and presented for information purposes only. If you have immigration problems the Law Offices of Crispin C. Lozano can help you find a solution before your problem gets worse which could lead to deportation and family separation.


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