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.
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