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Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude

One of the difficulties you may face in immigration court is having a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT) on your criminal record. A CIMT is a crime that shows some kind of moral failing in the perpetrator. It is not always clear what qualifies as a CIMT, since CIMTs are not equivalent to any other legal category.

A CIMT is a bar to admissibility, meaning you cannot be allowed to enter the U.S. or stay in the U.S. if you have a CIMT, unless you get a waiver of inadmissibility.  It is often hard to determine what effect a certain crime might have on your immigration case.

For instance, “ID Document Fraud” is a CIMT, while “False Social Security Card” is not a CIMT. “Social Security Misuse” is sometimes considered a CIMT, but other times it’s not.

The CIMT statute includes persons who were convicted of a CIMT, as well as persons who admit to having committed a CIMT. It also includes attempts. Two or more offenses of any kind can be a bar to admissibility.

If the CIMT is minor, it may fall into the petty offense exception. A petty offense is one where the maximum possible penalty for the conviction does not exceed one year’s imprisonment and the actual sentence imposed was less than six months.