Being charged with any criminal offense is a serious matter. You can face numerous penalties for a conviction, including prison, fines, probation, and electronic monitoring. However, are there special punishments for crimes involving moral turpitude in Texas?

What is a Crime of Moral Turpitude?

The conduct involved in committing a crime of moral turpitude is considered deviant, unethical, immoral, unjust, or wicked. The behavior is a departure from ordinary social standards. Crimes of moral turpitude can include crimes against people and crimes against property.

Examples of crimes that could be considered crimes of moral turpitude include:

A crime of moral turpitude could be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. In addition to the criminal punishments you could receive for a conviction of a crime of moral turpitude, you could also lose your professional license.

The Effects on Professional Licenses 

If you hold a professional license, being charged with a moral turpitude crime could have an adverse effect on your license. Depending on the crime and the rules governing your professional license, your professional license could be suspended or revoked. 

In most cases, the professional licensing board looks at several factors to determine whether you should lose your license because of a conviction of a crime of moral turpitude. 

Some factors the licensing board may review include:

  • The nature of the crime
  • The severity of the offense, including whether the offense harms another person or the general public
  • The laws, standards, and rules governing your profession
  • The facts and circumstances of your case

Each profession has ethical guidelines, licensing standards, and disciplinary procedures that govern individuals within the profession. These standards, rules, and procedures vary by profession. However, crimes of moral turpitude are generally taken very seriously by all professions.

Examples of professions that generally have rules regarding crimes of moral turpitude include, but are not limited to:

  • Lawyers
  • Real Estate Brokers
  • Nurses
  • Doctors and other physicians
  • Veterinarians
  • Dentists
  • Accountants
  • Social Workers
  • Pharmacists
  • Educators
  • Chiropractors

In addition to crimes of moral turpitude, a person could face revocation of a professional license for other criminal acts.

Immigration Consequences 

Immigrants can face additional consequences for convictions of crimes of moral turpitude. If you are attempting to obtain a visa or a green card, you could be denied entrance to the United States if you have a criminal record that includes moral turpitude crimes. 

If you are in the United States, you can be deported for a conviction of a crime of moral turpitude. It does not matter whether you are in the country legally or illegally. Being deported because of a crime of moral turpitude could have devastating consequences for your family.

Fighting Criminal Charges for Crimes of Moral Turpitude

If you face criminal charges, especially charges involving crimes of moral turpitude, you need to take immediate action to protect your future. Hiring a criminal defense lawyer gives you access to a legal advocate who fights to protect your legal rights and best interests.

Until you meet with a criminal defense attorney to discuss the criminal charges and potential defenses to crimes of moral turpitude, the following steps are important to keep in mind:

After an arrest, exercise your right to remain silent. You are required to give the police officers your name and address. You are not required to answer questions or give a statement without an attorney present.

Tell the police that you want to talk with a criminal defense lawyer. The police may continue to ask questions or make statements to try to get you to talk. Police officers can lie to you, so whatever they say, do not answer questions without your attorney present.

Do not talk to anyone with a licensing board, union, or immigration services without an attorney present. Also, do not discuss the case with family, friends, or any other individuals. Anything you say could be used against you if these individuals are called as a witness.

Stop using all social media accounts. Set all privacy settings to the highest levels. Make a list of all social media accounts, email accounts, and other accounts used for communication purposes, and give your attorney the list. 

Write down as much about the incident that you can remember. Include dates, times, people, and places in your description. If anyone witnessed the incident or could give you an alibi, make sure they are on the list. Do not make copies of the summary, and give the original to your lawyer.

Your lawyer will give you additional instructions. Listen to your attorney and ask questions if you do not understand any directions. Your lawyer has your best interests in mind, so it is best to follow his advice.