DUI is not typically considered a crime of moral turpitude. But, if there are aggravating circumstances, it can be. Call a California criminal defense DUI attorney if you are in jeopardy so they can begin your defense today.
What Is Moral Turpitude?
Cornell Law School describes it as a “phrase that describes wicked, deviant behavior constituting an immoral, unethical, or unjust departure from ordinary social standards such that it would shock a community.”
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What Types of Criminal Activity Are Considered Crimes of Moral Turpitude?
All crimes are shocking, unethical, and immoral. While the law has not established definite standards for determining whether a crime is considered one of moral turpitude, it is a crime that leads the community at large to believe that the perpetrator lacks a moral compass. The offense is considered evil, vile, and lascivious.
What Are Some Examples of Crimes of Moral Turpitude?
A criminal behavior that is particularly heinous and shocking is considered one of moral turpitude. Some crimes that could fall under that umbrella are:
- Child abuse
- Lewd Acts on a Minor
- Voluntary Manslaughter
- Aggravated Assault
This list goes on, but these crimes have in common certain factors – they are not crimes that are committed by accident or because of poor judgment. They do not have to involve violence, but they often do. The thread that connects these crimes is that they are committed to harm.
So, an act of moral turpitude is considered a crime when it was committed intentionally and with dishonesty and a lack of morality.
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What Makes a DUI a Crime of Moral Turpitude?
While careless and harmful, a single driving under the influence (DUI) charge would not be a crime of moral turpitude. But, aggravating circumstances can elevate the DUI charge to one a crime of moral turpitude.
Driving with a high blood alcohol content (BAC), even if the driver is speeding and is involved in a car accident, does not necessarily elevate the crime to one of moral turpitude. Violent behavior with malintent must be present. If illegal drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine are present, it can raise the charge to a crime of moral turpitude.
Here are a few things that may raise a DUI to a crime of moral turpitude.
- Driving with a Suspended License
- Endangering a Child
- An Accident Causing a Fatality
- Drug Use
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What Are Some Legal Consequences of Being Charged with a Crime of Moral Turpitude?
Such a charge has implications that could negatively impact someone trying to immigrate to the United States. While multiple misdemeanor driving under the influence charges is not raised to the level of crimes of moral turpitude, an immigration judge may view the immigrant as a habitual drunkard. Some immigration judges have erroneously combined crimes to show that an immigrant has poor moral character and should be deported.
If you are an immigrant facing a DUI, you should contact a criminal defense DUI lawyer to ensure that you are adequately represented. An insult to your moral fabric can harm your ability to immigrate. Following a conviction, you could be ineligible for probation, so any crimes that come after will impact your life even more severely.
Your Character Is Sullied After a Crime of Moral Turpitude Conviction
If you are found guilty of a crime of moral turpitude, it can affect many areas of your life. Being found guilty also makes you an impeachable witness. Later on, if a crime has been committed against you or you are a witness to a crime, your honor is in question.
Your crime of moral turpitude can be entered at trial rendering your testimony without credibility. Professional licenses can also be revoked because your trustworthiness has been nullified. Convictions for crimes of moral turpitude jeopardize careers.
Here are some examples.
- Social Workers
- Police Officers
- College Professors
- Political Office
- Postal Carrier
The governing body of each profession sets the rules about criminal behavior. Such crimes as those of moral turpitude could lead to the revocation of medical licenses. The removal from government jobs and positions is a potential consequence.
Can I Be Deported if Convicted of a Crime of Moral Turpitude?
If you have been arrested for a DUI, a moral turpitude crime can put you at risk for deportation. Being in the United States for less than five years and being sentenced to a year in jail can result in deportation.
Two convictions of crimes of moral turpitude, over two separate occasions, are grounds to deport an immigrant. Years could pass between the convictions, and it would still result in potential deportation. A DUI criminal defense attorney can help you avoid these charges so that you can remain in the U.S.
What Should I Do if I Am Facing a Charge for a Crime of Moral Turpitude?
Be quiet, be very quiet. Do not make any statements to the police that could be later held against you. It is hard to know what can hurt or help your case, so without a lawyer present, do not offer anything, no matter how intense the urge is.
Call a California criminal defense DUI attorney. They are your first and best line of defense against a simple DUI charge becoming a more serious offense.
Avoiding Conviction for DUI and Crimes of Moral Turpitude Requires Knowledge and Experience
When faced with these crimes, your freedom, livelihood, and citizenship status are all on the line. Your good name and ability to testify for yourself or others are also on the chopping block.
A California criminal defense DUI attorney understands the charges and their implications. They know how to navigate the legal system and can help you overcome serious charges. Their goal is to help you retain your life, good name, and career and keep your immigration status in good standing.
Charges like these can complicate every aspect of your life. An attorney can help. Call today and start mounting a powerful defense now. The sooner you act, the more your lawyer can do to protect you.