Criminal Defense of Immigrants


§ 17.15 2. Single Crime Involving Moral Turpitude Conviction

Skip to § 17.

For more text, click "Next Page>"

This deportation ground requires the following five elements: 


(1)      a conviction of

(2)  a criminal offense,

(3)  involving moral turpitude,

(4)      committed within five years of the noncitizen’s last admission into the United States, or 10 years if the noncitizen was admitted with an “S” visa,[142]

(5)      for which the maximum possible sentence was one year or more in custody.[143] 


If the government cannot prove by clear and convincing evidence that each of these elements exists, the noncitizen is not deportable under this ground.  See § 17.9, supra.  For a detailed discussion of this ground, see § § 20.32-20.37, infra.

[142] If the noncitizen was admitted into the United States by virtue of an “S” visa, granted for cooperation with law enforcement or prosecuting authorities in the investigation or prosecution of crime, under INA § 245(j), 8 U.S.C. § 1255(j), then the person is deportable if the offense was committed within 10 years of admission, instead of within five years.  INA § 237(a)(2)(A)(i)(I), 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(A)(i)(I).

[143] This is the current definition of this ground.  For deportation proceedings initiated prior to April 1, 1997, the person is not deportable unless s/he was actually sentenced to serve one year or more in custody as a result of the conviction.