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What are Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude (CIMT)?

Posted in Criminal Defense,General FAQ'S on February 27, 2020

Crimes involving moral turpitude (CIMT) may be difficult for many people to understand. That is because a CIMT has no absolute definition, which can be confusing, considering the phrase is used in many statutes. The California Supreme Court is also acknowledged that the term moral turpitude “is an elusive concept incapable of the precise general definition.”

A crime of moral turpitude can be described as an offense of dishonesty or one that is base, vile, or depraved that would be shocking to any reasonable person. A CIMT is not necessarily a specific offense but is a type of classification associated with a crime. For example, a person facing a crime classified as a CIMT could potentially face additional consequences.

Examples of Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude

There are many examples of major offenses that the courts have labeled as involving moral turpitude. Some of these are as follows:

A CIMT is going to be an offense that is considered morally reprehensible (again, hard to legally define). These crimes will not include offenses that happen because of a mistake, a bad judgment call, or an accident.

What crimes do not count as CIMT?

There are some offenses that the courts have stated are not crimes involving moral turpitude. Some of these include:

Effects of CIMT crimes

There are several effects that a crime of moral turpitude can have on a person. Importantly, a CIMT can certainly affect the ability of a prosecutor to negotiate their case. A CIMT can be used against someone in court, so a person charged may be more likely to take a plea bargain to avoid a jury trial.

Crimes of moral turpitude can also negatively impact a person’s immigration status. Under US immigration law, certain types of convictions can lead to non-citizens being deported or being admitted into the country.

A CIMT can also be used to impeach a witness. This means that a person who has a past conviction of a CIMT may have their credibility as a witness challenged in a trial.

A crime of moral turpitude can also negatively impact a person’s career or any professional licenses they hold. For example, a person could be suspended from practicing law or medicine. Employees of the state of California may face suspension or termination if they are convicted of a CIMT.

Contact Graham Donath to help with your case

If you or somebody you care about is facing a crime of moral turpitude, please seek legal assistance as soon as possible. At the Law Offices of Graham Donath, APC, we have vast experience with California criminal law, and we thoroughly understand how to formulate a defense for a crime involving moral turpitude. You have to protect yourself in these situations, so please can contact us for a consultation on your case by clicking here or by calling as soon as possible.