Crimes of Moral Turpitude: How an Arrest Can Affect Your Visa

An arrest can be damaging under any circumstances. If you are a foreign national studying or working in New York on a temporary basis, however, an arrest can be especially devastating. Convictions for certain offenses known as “crimes involving moral turpitude,” or CIMT, can have a detrimental impact on your current and future visa, green card, or citizenship. In some cases, a conviction of one or more for these offenses can permanently affect your immigration status, resulting in deportation, inadmissibility, or ineligibility for naturalization.

What Is a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude?

According to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), a CIMT is an offense that are “inherently vile, depraved, and contrary to the accepted rules of morality and the duties owed between persons or to society in general.” The intent behind these crimes are considered evil or malicious and call into question the character of the defendant. Crimes of this nature span across both misdemeanor and felony categories and can have lasting immigration consequences for individuals of all immigration statuses. In general, most sex offenses and violent crimes qualify as a CIMT, though even seemingly minor misdemeanors can also be classified in this manner.

Specific offenses often considered as CIMTs include:

  • First, second, and third degree assault
  • Second degree menacing
  • First degree reckless endangerment
  • Third degree stalking
  • Forcible touching
  • Petit and grand larceny
  • Third degree robbery
  • Fifth degree possession of stolen property
  • Third and second degree forgery
  • Fourth degree sale of marijuana
  • Prostitution
  • Endangering the welfare of a child
  • Fourth degree criminal possession of a weapon

Whether you are charged through a Desk Appearance Ticket or an arrest for a felony, CIMTs can have serious consequences and must be handled by a powerful criminal defense team. At The Portela Law Firm, P.C., our New York criminal defense attorneys are intimately familiar with both immigration and criminal law and can use our invaluable knowledge to fight for your future in the United States. Backed by numerous positive client testimonials and a Superb Avvo Rating for our excellence, we have what it takes to secure the results you need.

Call (212) 577-9312 or schedule a free case review today to protect your freedom.