Peter Blair | December 6, 2022 | State Law
Being arrested can be a scary experience. If you’ve been arrested for a crime of moral turpitude, the stakes are even higher. The most important thing you can do if you find yourself in this situation is to contact a criminal defense lawyer who can help you navigate the criminal justice system and protect your rights.
What Is Moral Turpitude?
Moral turpitude is a legal term that refers to conduct that is considered to be contrary to community standards of justice and good morals. There’s no criminal statute explicitly defining it, but the Supreme Court has said it is behavior that is “extremely repugnant to accepted moral standards” and shows that the person is “ready to do evil.”
Examples of crimes of moral turpitude include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Child abuse
- Aggravated assault
- Felon in possession of a firearm
- Armed robbery
To be convicted of a crime of moral turpitude, the prosecution must prove that the accused committed the act with specific intent. This means that they must have acted with the intention of committing the crime, as opposed to acting out of negligence or recklessness.
Why Does It Matter If it’s Considered a Crime of Moral Turpitude?
Whether or not a crime is classified as a crime of moral turpitude is important because this designation can have a significant impact on the penalties you may face if convicted. Most importantly, you could be facing serious legal consequences, such as fines and serious prison time.
A conviction for a crime of moral turpitude can have other far-reaching negative consequences. For non-citizens, a crime of moral turpitude conviction can lead to deportation even if the offense is classified as a misdemeanor.
It can also make it difficult to find employment or housing. Many employers perform background checks on job applicants and will not hire someone with a serious criminal record. Landlords also often run background checks on potential tenants and may refuse to rent to someone with a criminal record.
In addition, a crime of moral turpitude conviction will appear on your criminal record and will be accessible to the public via online databases. This means that anyone else who does a background check on you will be able to see that you have been convicted of a crime.
Finally, if you are convicted of a crime of moral turpitude, you may lose your professional license (if you have one). For example, if you are convicted of healthcare fraud, you will likely lose your medical license. Similarly, if you are convicted of tax fraud, you will likely lose your accounting license.
How a Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help If You’re Arrested for a Crime of Moral Turpitude
An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you navigate the legal system and protect your rights. Here’s a look at some of the ways an attorney can help if you’ve been accused of a crime of moral turpitude.
Investigate Your Case
One of the first things your attorney will do is investigate your case. This will involve looking at the evidence against you and talking to witnesses. Your attorney will also work to uncover any evidence that could be used in your defense. The more information your attorney has about your case, the better prepared they’ll be to defend you.
Negotiate With the Prosecutor
In many cases, it may be possible for your attorney to negotiate with the prosecutor on your behalf. This could result in charges being reduced or dropped altogether. If negotiations are not possible or successful, your case will go to trial.
Legal Defenses at Trial
If your case does go to trial, your attorney will work diligently to build a strong defense on your behalf. The specific defenses that will be used will depend on the facts of your case, but some common defenses that are used in cases involving crimes of moral turpitude include self-defense, mistaken identity, lack of intent, and insufficient evidence.
Contact a San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer If You’ve Been Accused of a Crime of Moral Turpitude
If you’ve been accused of a crime of moral turpitude, it’s important to seek out legal assistance as soon as possible so that you can understand your options and potential outcomes. Schedule a free consultation with an experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney to discuss your case.