All immigrants, including legal permanent residents or green card holders, may be subject to deportation from the U.S. if they commit a crime of moral turpitude or an aggravated felony. While these standards can be somewhat vague, court decisions over the years have helped define the specific crimes that potentially can lead to deportation proceedings.
The most common elements to an offense that qualifies as a crime of moral turpitude include fraud, larceny or theft, and an intent to harm others or property. Therefore, any type of offense that involves fraud or theft is likely to be a crime of moral turpitude. Other criminal offenses falling within this category are assault with the intent to rob or kill another, domestic violence or spousal abuse, and driving while intoxicated with aggravating factors, such as property damage or bodily injury.
There is an exception to crimes of moral turpitude that constitute “petty offenses.” A crime may qualify as a petty offense if the potential penalty could never be more than one year in prison and the most time that the individual served was six months. Thus, a shoplifting conviction, for instance, is likely to meet the petty offense exception.
Deportation for a crime of moral turpitude normally occurs if you commit a qualifying crime within five years of being admitted to the U.S. It also might occur if you commit two or more qualifying crimes that did not arise out of the same incidence of misconduct at any time after you were admitted to the U.S.
An aggravated felony encompasses several different serious offenses outlined under federal immigration law. These offenses include murder, rape, drug trafficking, and child pornography, among many others. Aggravated felonies also include any theft or violent crime with a sentence of at least one year. This is regardless of whether you actually served one year or not. An aggravated felony conviction can result in you being permanently inadmissible to the U.S.
Whatever your situation may be, you will need skilled legal assistance to work toward a resolution of your immigration law matter. The Texas immigration attorneys of Peek & Toland know how to help you navigate through the maze of immigration forms, regulations, and policies, and get the relief that you need. Take the first step today and secure the future of your family in the U.S. Contact our office today at and set up an evaluation with one of our highly skilled Texas immigration lawyers.