Immigrants hoping to eventually become U.S. citizens must demonstrate “good moral character” throughout their stay. This means they must not be convicted of certain types of crimes that are often referred to as “deportable offenses.” When someone is removed due to a deportable offense, they may also be barred from reentering the country. Below, we review the types of crimes that can jeopardize a non-citizen’s ability to stay in and reenter the United States.
Crimes of Moral Turpitude
An offense may be considered one of “moral turpitude” if the criminal act is inherently immoral and causes harm to another person or society at large. Having a crime of moral turpitude conviction on your record will almost always prevent a lawful permanent resident from qualifying for naturalization.
A crime of moral turpitude is only considered a deportable offense in the following situations:
- If someone is convicted of a crime of moral turpitude within five years of entering the U.S. in which a one-year prison sentence may be imposed
- If someone is convicted of multiple, unconnected crimes of moral turpitude
Crimes of moral turpitude include(but are not limited to):
- Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon
- Aggravated Battery
- Child Abuse
- Child Pornography
- Dealing in Stolen Property
- Aggravated Stalking
- Driving Under the Influence with a Suspended License
- Identity Theft
- Resisting Arrest With Violence
- Sexual Battery
You should be aware that whether a crime constitutes a “crime involving moral turpitude” is entirely determined by the language used in the specific state where you were charged. Therefore, it is entirely possible for an offense to be considered a “crime involving moral turpitude” in one state but not the other.
Aggravated felonies are always considered deportable offenses. Several aggravated felonies are also considered crimes of moral turpitude.
Aggravated felonies include:
- Drug trafficking
- Fraud involving at least $10,000
- Sexual abuse of a minor child
- Theft crimes carrying a sentence of at least one year of imprisonment
- Unlawful trafficking of firearms
An immigrant can be deported for committing one of several types of crimes involving guns, firearms, and other deadly weapons. Someone may also be targeted for removal if an offense involves an automatic weapon or if they use a firearm in connection with another crime.
You may be targeted for removal if you:
- Unlawfully possess a firearm
- Unlawfully carry a firearm
- Unlawfully use a firearm
- Unlawfully purchase a firm
- Unlawfully sell a firearm
- Unlawfully swap a firearm
Being convicted of a crime involving controlled substances can result in removal from the country. In many cases, simple possession of fewer than 30 grams of marijuana will not be considered a deportable offense.
Deportable drug crimes include:
Domestic Violence Crimes
Any domestic violence conviction can result in deportation. A domestic violence crime is one in which someone harms another person in their family or household.
Examples of crimes that may be considered domestic violence offenses include:
- Assault and aggravated assault
- Battery and aggravated battery
- False imprisonment
- Sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault
- Sexual battery
- Stalking and aggravated stalking
Worried about Immigration Consequences of Criminal Charges? Contact Our Firm.
Your future in the United States may be at stake if you have been charged with any of the deportable offenses listed above. Not all criminal defense lawyers are prepared to navigate potential immigration consequences and thus cannot give you the comprehensive advice you need.
Our attorneys at Hubbs Law, P.A. routinely handle matters of both immigration and criminal defense. We know how these areas of the law intersect and can provide the sophisticated representation your case will require.
We offer free initial consultations for criminal and deportation cases. Contact us online or call (305) 376-7178 to speak to a member of our team.