Most of us would probably agree that all crimes are bad. Being charged with any crime, no matter how severe, is never a good thing. Some crimes are set apart from the rest and receive a special designation. These offenses are referred to as “crimes of moral turpitude” and include a variety of different crimes. Moral turpitude refers to something reckless, immoral, or even downright evil.
Crimes of moral turpitude include many different crimes. Some of these offenses are as severe as murder, while others are as minor as petty theft. In any case, the offense is deemed morally reprehensible and is supposed to show the defendant has a “bad character”. Each offense carries its own normal penalties, usually involving fines and jail or prison time. However, there could be additional consequences for crimes of moral turpitude involving professional licensing or deportation.
Our New Jersey criminal defense lawyers can help you determine if you are facing charges for crimes of moral turpitude and how you will be affected. Call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956 to arrange a free, confidential legal consultation.
What Are “Crimes of Moral Turpitude” in New Jersey?
Crimes of moral turpitude can be a little hard to pin down. While some are clearly morally reprehensible offenses, others are unclear. Different statutes may have somewhat different definitions of a crime of moral turpitude. Some statutes describe moral turpitude as an act of depravity. Other statutes describe it as something that shocks the public conscious. Sometimes, specific crimes are mentioned, like murder or robbery. Other times, the definition is left vague. If you are charged with any offense, it is important to speak with an attorney about your case. Depending on your situation, you may face extra penalties if your charges include crimes of moral turpitude.
Crimes of moral turpitude, while adhering to a somewhat amorphous definition, tend to include certain kinds of crimes more often than not. First, violent crimes – like murder, sexual assault, kidnapping, and aggravated assault – are usually deemed crimes of moral turpitude. Second, crimes against the government – like tax evasion, fraud, and counterfeiting – are often included on lists of crimes of moral turpitude. Lastly, property and theft crimes – including arson, burglary, and theft – may also be crimes of moral turpitude.
Remember, whether your charges fit the definition of moral turpitude may depend on your circumstances. If you hold a professional license, you could lose it if convicted of a crime of moral turpitude. However, some licensure boards might only be concerned about certain crimes of moral turpitude. Talk to our Atlantic County criminal defense lawyers about your charges as soon as possible.
Penalties for Crimes of Moral Turpitude in New Jersey
Crimes of moral turpitude are subject to many of the same penalties as other types of crimes. Things like jail or prison sentences, fines, community service, and probation are all on the table. However, crimes of moral turpitude can affect other aspects of your life beyond criminal sentencing. As mentioned previously, people who hold certain professional licenses, like attorneys, could lose their license if convicted of a crime of moral turpitude. For a non-attorney defendant, this kind of penalty obviously would not apply.
People seeking U.S. citizenship, visa holders, and other permanent residents could also face additional penalties for crimes of moral turpitude. People convicted of crimes of moral turpitude could be turned away and denied entrance to this country. If they are a current resident but not a citizen, they could be deported.
These crimes also may show up in background checks, making job, housing, and loan opportunities harder to obtain.
Remember, certain penalties, such as those for professional licensing and immigration, may be governed by multiple statutes outside New Jersey’s criminal code. Immigration statutes and licensing rules may include different crimes of moral turpitude. There may even be different requirements for different types of professional licenses that you should consult a Cape May criminal defense lawyer about.
Defending Against Charges for Crimes of Moral Turpitude in New Jersey
You may be able to defend yourself against charges for crimes of moral turpitude on multiple fronts. First, you can challenge the criminal charges in a court of law. Every criminal defendant is entitled to a trial by a jury of their peers. If you have a defense for your actions, such as a claim of self-defense, you might be able to beat your charges. It is also possible to negotiate with prosecutors for a plea deal where you plead guilty to other offenses but get the moral turpitude charges dropped.
If you are unfortunately convicted of your charges, all hope might not be lost. Often, the penalties for crimes of moral turpitude can be challenged separately. For example, it may be possible to appeal the loss or suspension of a professional license or a deportation order. If those cases, it may be possible to argue that your specific crime does not fit the definition of a crime of moral turpitude.
Keep in mind that fighting your charges might require the help of our Haddonfield, NJ criminal defense attorneys alongside attorneys who work in other fields, such as immigration. However, our team is here to assist with your criminal charges in any way we can.
Call Our New Jersey Attorneys for Crimes of Moral Turpitude
If you have been charged with a crime of moral turpitude, there may be more consequences than you initially thought. If you are not a U.S. citizen or you hold a professional license, you may be in more trouble. Call our Ocean City criminal defense lawyers for a free legal consultation as soon as possible.