There are some crimes in California that are considered “crimes of moral turpitude.” While this term may seem a bit outdated, it is still very relevant when it comes to the law as it can result in additional consequences after you are convicted. Unfortunately, what is considered moral turpitude is a bit of a vague concept, which is why this is such a little understood aspect of California law.
What is Moral Turpitude in California?
Under the law, moral turpitude is considered to be a crime of serious dishonesty, fraud or something morally reprehensible that would shock an average person. In practice, the definition is rather vague to the point where even the California Supreme Court has said that it evades “precise general definition.” That being said, moral turpitude crimes fall into two categories: 1) Crimes of dishonesty, 2) Crimes showing a readiness do do evil.
Generally, it’s easier to simply ask your criminal defense attorney if a crime you have been accused of falls under this label than to try to guess for yourself. That being said, some crimes that may fall under this banner include:
- Aggravated Trespassing
- Assault with a Deadly Weapon
- Child Abuse
- Child Molestation
- Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor
- Dining and Dashing
- Domestic Violence
- Drug Sales
- Failure to Register as a Sex Offender
- Grand Theft Auto
- Hit and Run
- Possession of Stolen Property
- Statutory Rape
Simply being charged with one of these offenses doesn’t always mean you’re being charged with a crime of moral turpitude. Instead, a judge must determine that the circumstances of these crimes are meet the definition. It’s worth noting that to fall under this label, a person must have been acting intentionally, not just making a bad choice or doing something by accident. Your attorney can be critical in fighting to avoid having this label added to your record.
Consequences of These Crimes
There are many additional consequences that you may suffer from if you are charged with a crime of moral turpitude. If you are a non-resident, you could be deported for such a crime. If you have a professional license, such as a medical or legal license, you could lose it as a result of your conviction. Additionally, minors who have been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude since the time of their original charge will be ineligible to have the record for the prior charge sealed. A conviction for these types of crimes can also leave someone impeached if they are asked to serve as witnesses in court later on.
Lastly, these convictions can also have a negative impact on your ability to find employment later on in the future.
Take These Charges Seriously
These consequences are not to be taken lightly, which is why anyone who has been accused of a crime of moral turpitude in California should immediately contact a top defense lawyer. If you have been accused of such a crime, please call (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation with Peter M. Liss.
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