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Can I be deported for a misdemeanor?

On Behalf of | Sep 21, 2021 | Criminal Defense

Unfortunately, like many things in the legal world, the answer to this question is that it depends. Although the exact answer will depend on the details of the situation, it is important to know that there is not a simple, one-way-fits-all type of approach when answering this question. Instead, the court will generally review the crime itself. The courts do not automatically start the deportation process when it comes to misdemeanors.

When is deportation for a misdemeanor a possibility?

If the crime falls under a deportable offense, the deportation process may begin. Deportable offenses for misdemeanors can include the following:

  • Crime of moral turpitude. A conviction for a crime involving moral turpitude within five years of entering the United States that results in a sentence of one year or more can lead to deportation. This can include conspiracy, attempt, or an accessory to a crime if the offense involves moral turpitude.
  • Multiple criminal convictions. Multiple convictions for crimes of moral turpitude at any time after entering the United States can result in deportation.

Even within these guidelines there are exceptions. A misdemeanor crime of moral turpitude, for example, may not result in deportation if the sentence was less than one year.

But what exactly is a crime of moral turpitude?

There is not an exact definition. However, in general, the courts view a crime of moral turpitude as one that breaks trust. Examples can include fraud, theft, assault, or other crimes that involve dishonesty.

Because the law is vague and dependent on the facts of the case in these situations, it is important to carefully review the rules and previous cases with similar fact patterns to determine the best way to handle this type of situation.