What Are Some Crimes of Moral Turpitude?

Highly subjective in its meaning, crimes of moral turpitude carry evil intent and are inherently depraved, such as murder, child abuse, rape, robbery and animal fighting. Other crimes, including spousal abuse, manslaughter and incest, also fall into this category, though it is important to recognize that no one is ever charged with a crime called "moral turpitude."

Understanding the meaning behind crimes of moral turpitude is especially important for people who want to receive or keep a United States green card or visa. Being convicted of a crime that meets this description can result in disqualification from the immigration process, deportation from the United States, and the refusal of entry into the United States.

Determining if a crime constitutes moral turpitude is up to the courts and done on a case by case basis. The definition relies on factors such as the intent behind the crime; whether the crime is bad merely because the law dictates that it is or if it is immoral in and of itself; and whether it substantially offends the social mores of any given time.

Aside from immigration consequences, having a conviction of this type can lead to an inability to serve as a witness in court and serve as grounds for revoking or denying professional licensure and certification.