Immigration consequences can be steep for certain aliens who are convicted of committing crimes while in the United States. The commission of certain offenses, which may be classified as “crimes involving moral turpitude,” may render an alien inadmissible or removable from the U.S. See INA § 212(a)(2) and § 237.
A crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT) involves a crime that is “inherently base, vile or depraved, and contrary to the accepted rules of morality, and the duties owed between persons or society in general.” Matter of Olquin, 23 I & N Dec. 896 (BIA 2006). Though the consequences of being charged with a CIMT may be severe, aliens who commit certain offenses may still be eligible for admissibility into the U.S. Aliens whose offenses fall within what is referred to as the “petty offense exception,” will not be found inadmissible to the U.S.
Section 212(a)(2)(A)(ii)(II) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, states that an alien who has only committed one crime shall not be found inadmissible if the “maximum penalty possible for the crime of which the alien was convicted . . . did not exceed imprisonment for one year and, if the alien was convicted of such crime, the alien was not sentenced to a term of imprisonment in excess of 6 months.” See INA § 212(a)(2)(A)(ii)(II). Therefore, certain aliens may seek comfort in knowing that not every offense will subject that alien to being found inadmissible.
Aliens who only commit ONE crime that is considered a CIMT may fall within the petty offense exception. Further, for an alien to qualify under the petty offense exception and not be found inadmissible, the statute under which he/she was convicted must not impose a term of imprisonment of more than one year. In conjunction with that requirement, the alien’s sentence must not have been in excess of six months of imprisonment. Both these factors must be satisfied in order for the alien to qualify for the petty offense exception.
The petty offense exception allows certain qualifying aliens to avoid harsh immigration consequences. To determine whether your offense falls under the petty offense exception, feel free to contact our offices.
For specific questions regarding your case, please contact our office directly as we are unable to respond to all posts due to the large number of postings on this site.
For general information and discussion, you may post a comment below. When posting a comment, all information will be posted live on the internet on this site. For confidentiality purposes, you do not need to use your real name.