What is a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude According to California Law?

February 26, 2023

A crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT) is a legal concept that refers to an offense that is considered to be morally or ethically wrong. According to California law, a CIMT is an offense that is committed with the intent to deceive, defraud, or harm another person, and is considered to be a serious crime. In the state of California, a CIMT can have severe consequences, such as being barred from certain professions, losing immigration status, or being denied the right to vote.

Examples of CIMT in California include embezzlement, fraud, grand theft, extortion, perjury, and forgery. Embezzlement is the theft of money or property by a person who has been entrusted with it, such as an employee stealing from their employer. Fraud is the intentional deception of another person for personal gain. Grand theft is the theft of property or money valued at over $950. Extortion is the use of threats to obtain money or property from another person. Perjury is the intentional giving of false testimony under oath. Forgery is the unauthorized creation or alteration of a document with the intent to defraud.

CIMT also include crimes of moral depravity such as prostitution, drug offenses, and sex crimes. For example, prostitution is considered a CIMT because it involves engaging in sexual conduct for money, which is considered morally wrong. Drug offenses, such as drug trafficking or possession with intent to sell, are also considered CIMT because they involve the illegal distribution of controlled substances, which is considered morally wrong. Sexual crimes, such as rape, sexual assault, and statutory rape, are considered CIMT because they involve the violation of another person’s bodily autonomy, which is considered morally wrong.

The determination of whether a crime is considered a CIMT is often left to the discretion of the court, and may vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case. It’s important to note that the classification of a crime as a CIMT is not always clearly defined in California law. For example, a crime such as assault with a deadly weapon, could be considered a CIMT if it was done with intent to harm or defraud another person, but it might not be considered a CIMT if it was done in self-defense.

CIMT also have serious immigration consequences. If a non-citizen is convicted of a CIMT, they may be subject to deportation, denial of naturalization, or be barred from re-entering the United States. The immigration laws of the United States, define CIMT as a crime that involves fraud or deceit, and the immigration court has the discretion to decide whether the crime committed by the non-citizen constitutes a CIMT.

The Law Offices of John D. Rogers is a criminal defense office located in Newport Beach, CA. If you have been charged with a crime, then you need to protect your rights. Call us today to schedule a free confidential consultation with an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney.

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