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New Jersey Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude

A “Crime Involving Moral Turpitude”, which is commonly referred to as a CIMT in the legal community is a relatively new concept to the United States that has gained a lot of recognition and become the topic of debate as to how it plays a part in New Jersey Criminal Law and U.S. Immigration. The concept has become such a heated discussion because most people including attorneys do not fully even understand it or its broad repercussions, In fact, “moral turpitude” does even have a definitive definition, but has been described as an “act of baseness, vileness, or depravity in the private and social duties which a man owes to his fellowmen, or to society in general, contrary to the accepted and customary rule of right and duty between man and man.” However, the classification of a crime which constitutes moral turpitude has very real significance on immigration status. This because a conviction for a crime involving moral turpitude or “aggravated felony” causes a person to be inadmissible to the United States under section 212(a)(2)(a)(i) of the INA (Immigration and Nationality Act). If you are living in the United States as a permanent resident or here on Greed Card or Visa, a conviction of a CIMT could result in your deportation from the United States. The U.S. government guidance on determining which crimes encompass moral turpitude is loose, at best, but you can visit the United States Department of State website for a definition of moral turpitude for immigration purposes. http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/86941.pdf

The proper application of crimes involving moral turpitude is so hard because each state statute covers different acts and behaviors, uses different language, and has different sets of punishments and some of these may not necessarily involve moral turpitude under the Federal definition. Generally speaking, the offenses listed below are crimes involving moral turpitude and aggravated felonies, with some exceptions.


Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude

Crimes Not Involving Moral Turpitude

Crimes Against Property

Evil intent:




Theft of Movable Property



Criminal Mischief – with malicious intent


Theft By Deception

Receiving Stolen Property (with guilty knowledge)

Bad Checks

Credit Card Fraud

Damaging private property (where intent to damage not required)

Breaking and entering (requiring no specific or implicit intent to commit a crime involving moral turpitude)

Passing Bad Checks (where intent to defraud not required)

Receiving Stolen Property (if guilty knowledge is not essential)

Joy riding (where the intention to take permanently not required)

Juvenile Delinquency


Crimes Committed Against Governmental Authority



Fraud against revenue or other government functions

Mail Fraud


Harboring a fugitive from justice

Tax evasion (willful)

Child Pornography

Possession of a Weapon with Unlawful Purposes

Marijuana Distribution (over 30 grams)

Heroin Distribution

Cocaine Distribution


Witness Tampering


Disorderly Conduct

Desertion from the Armed Forces


Reckless driving

Driving while suspended or revoked

False statements (not amounting to perjury or involving   fraud)

Firearm violations

Gambling violations

Immigration violations

Minor traffic violations

Possessing burglary tools (without intent to commit burglary)

Crimes Committed Against Person, Family Relationship, and Sexual Morality

Aggravated Assault

Assault with a Deadly Weapon

Aggravated Assault of a Police Officer

Endangering the Welfare of a Child – Use of minor to commit a crime





Promoting Prostitution

Aggravated Sexual Assault (including “Statutory   rape” by virtue of the victim’s age)


Simple Assault – any assault, which does not involve an evil intent or depraved motive

Creating or maintaining a nuisance

Involuntary manslaughter (when killing is not the result of recklessness)


Attempts, Aiding and Abetting, Accessories and Conspiracy

An attempt to commit a crime deemed to involve moral turpitude

Accomplice to a crime involving moral turpitude.

Conspiracy to commit a crime involving moral turpitude.


For more information regarding crimes involving moral turpitude and U.S. Immigration Policy, please visit the source of this article at Wikipedia.