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Criminal Defense Attorneys

What Are Some Examples of Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude?

Whenever we handle the defense of someone who is not a U.S. citizen, we must evaluate whether the crime alleged is one involving moral turpitude.  If the crime involves conduct constituting moral turpitude, we must make all reasonable efforts possible to resolve the case in a way that avoids a conviction for an offense involving moral turpitude.
 
It is important to note that a crime of moral turpitude does not necessarily have to involve dishonesty.  Rather, moral turpitude means a “readiness to do evil.”  People v. Castro (1985) 38 Cal.3d 301, 314.
 
However, what crimes have been found to constitute a crime of moral turpitude?  We have tried to assemble a short list with the authority holding so, however, the following list is not an exhaustive list of every offense considered a crime of moral turpitude.  Nonetheless, the following is a list of 36 crimes which have been found to be crimes of moral turpitude.  They are:
  1. Accessory after the fact (Penal Code § 32; In re Young (1989) 49 Cal.3d 257, 264;
  2. Arson (People v. Miles (1985) 172 Cal.App.3d 474, 482);
  3. Assault with a deadly weapon (People v. Cavazos (1985) 172 Cal.App.3d 589, 593);
  4. Assault with a deadly weapon or by force likely to produce great bodily injury (Penal Code § 245(a)(1); People v. Elwell (1988) 206 Cal.App.3d 171; see also People v. Thomas (1988) 206 Cal.App.3d 689, holding that 245(a)(1) involves moral turpitude);
  5. Assault with intent to commit murder (People v. Olmedo (1985) 167 Cal.App.3d 1085, 1097);
  6. Assault with intent to commit rape (People v. Morris (1991) 53 Cal.3d 152, 217; disapproved on other grounds in People v. Stansbury (1995) 9 Cal.4th 824, 830 n.1; People v. Bonilla (1985) 168 Cal.App.3d 201);
  7. Auto theft (People v. Green (1995) 34 Cal.App.4th 165; People v. Zataray (1985) 173 Cal.App. 3d 390, 399);
  8. Battery by an inmate on a non-inmate (People v. Williams (1985) 169 Cal.App.3d 951, 957;
  9. Battery on a police officer (People v. Lindsay (1989) 209 Cal.App.3d 849, 857; People v. Clardia (1987) 197 Cal.App.3d 547, 552);
  10. Burglary (People v. Muldrow (1988) 202 Cal.App.3d 636, 645; People v. Castro (1986) 186 Cal.App.3d 12211; People v. Almarez (1985) 168 Cal.App.3d 262; People v. Boyd (1985) 167 Cal.App.3d 36);
  11. Child molestation (People v. Castro (1985) 38 Cal.3d 301, 314);
  12. Contributing to the delinquency of a minor (see In re Duggan (1976) 17 Cal.3d 416);
  13. Conspiracy to possess an unregistered firearm (18 U.S.C. § 371; People v. White (1992) 4 Cal.App.4th 1299, 1305);
  14. Corporal injury to a child (People v. Brooks (1992) 3 Cal.App.4th 669, 672);
  15. Crimes of violence (People v. Castro (1985) 38 Cal.3d 301, 314);
  16. Cultivation of marijuana (People v. Gabriel (2012) 206 Cal.App.4th 450, 459);
  17. Discharge of a firearm at an inhabited dwelling (Penal Code § 246; People v. White, supra);
  18. Driving under the influence as a felony (Vehicle Code § 23153; People v. Forster (1994) 29 Cal.App.4th 1746, 1757);
  19. Escape with or without violence (Penal Code §§ 4530(a), (c), 4532(b); People v. Lang (1989) 49 Cal.3d 991, 1009; People v. Waldecker (1987) 195 Cal.App.3d 1152, 1156, People v. Lee (1991) 229 Cal.App.3d 1504, 1507);
  20. Evading a police officer (Vehicle Code § 2800.2; People v. Dewey (1996) 42 Cal.App.4th 216, 223);
  21. Ex-con with a gun (Possession of a firearm by a felony) (Penal Code § 29800; 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1); People v. Robinson (2011) 199 Cal.App.4th 707, 712);
  22. Extortion (see Librarian v. State Bar (1952) 38 Cal.2d 328, 330);
  23. Failing to appear in court as a felony (see People v. Maestras (2005) 132 Cal.App.4th 1552, 1556);
  24. False imprisonment as a felony (People v. Cornelio (1989) 207 Cal.App.3d 1580, 1583);
  25. Forgery (People v. Parrish (1985) 170 Cal.App.3d 336, 349; People v. Almaraz, supra);
  26. Grand theft (People v. Boyd (1985) 167 Cal.App.3d 36, 45);
  27. Grand theft auto (and Vehicle Code § 10851; People v. Rodriguez (1986) 177 Cal.App.3d 174, 178);
  28. Hit and run (as a felony) (Vehicle Code § 20001; People v. Bautista (1990) 217 Cal.App.3d 1, 7);
  29. Indecent exposure (felony) (People v. Ballard (1993) 13 Cal.App.4th 687, 691);
  30. Kidnapping (People v. Zutaray (1985) 173 Cal.App.3d 390, 400);
  31. Lewd or lascivious act on a child under Penal Code § 288(a)(People v. Massey (1987) 192 Cal.App.3d 819, 832);
  32. Murder (People v. Johnson (1991) 233 Cal.App.3d 425, 459);
  33. Perjury (Penal Code § 118; People v. Rollo (1977) 20 Cal.3d 109, 118);
  34. Pimping and pandering (People v. Jaimez (1986) 184 Cal.App.3d 146, 150);
  35. Torture (People v. Castro (1985) 38 Cal.3d 301, 314); and
  36. Vandalism as a felony (Penal Code § 594; People v. Campbell (1994) 23 Cal.App.4th 1488, 1493).
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