Because domestic violence may be considered a crime of moral turpitude in California, collateral consequences may exist. These collateral effects may prevent individuals from obtaining a professional certification or license, as well as cause already licensed persons to have theirs’ revoked. A domestic violence conviction may also impact a non-citizen’s immigration status.

A crime of moral turpitude is a type of criminal offense. It involves a serious offense involving dishonesty, fraud, or conduct that is immoral, vile, or depraved. Petty offenses are excluded from being considered crimes of moral turpitude.

A criminal offense typically requires some mental state as to fault. Thus, crimes may be committed intentionally, negligently, or recklessly. Some crimes will almost always involve moral turpitude. Other criminal offenses may involve moral turpitude depending on the facts of the case.

Many states, including California, take into consideration the identity of the victim. When a victim of domestic violence is a spouse, then domestic violence is considered a crime of moral turpitude.

Collateral consequences refer to those secondary penalties related to a conviction that are not generated by the court. Instead, these consequences derive from employers, businesses, government agencies, and professional organizations.

Most employment contracts require workers to possess good moral character. A conviction for a crime of moral turpitude may cause a worker to breach this contract. If an employer believes that domestic violence involves moral turpitude, it may terminate the employee’s contract.

Thus, a conviction for a crime of moral turpitude may affect a professional license. It may prevent someone from obtaining a license or cause the revocation of the license to someone already certified, which may seriously affect an individual’s ability to maintain gainful employment. An individual’s entry into a certain profession may be entirely foreclosed. Thus, any allegation of domestic violence must be vigorously defended to counteract any negative employment ramifications.

Some licenses that require good moral character include medical licenses, law licenses, nursing certifications, mortgage broker licenses, and even cosmetology licenses. Those who already have licenses may still be subject to penalties and may face disciplinary action after a domestic violence conviction, causing probation, suspension, revocation, or a permanent ban from the profession.

For example, California state employees may be disciplined for committing a crime of moral turpitude, while others may not under similar circumstances. Thus, the circumstances of the case may significantly affect the matter. Certain professions and agencies may be stricter than others.

While domestic violence may be considered a crime of moral turpitude in California, employers and other professional organizations may characterize an act of domestic violence under distinct rules. Because different licensing agencies have their own rules and guidelines, as a result, some may treat domestic violence as a crime of moral turpitude while others do not.

While federal immigration law distinguishes domestic violence from crimes of moral turpitude, domestic violence offenses may cause a non-citizen to be deported. These include a crime of violence against:

  • a current or former spouse,
  • a person in a relationship with the defendant,
  • the other parent of the defendant’s child,
  • a cohabitant, or
  • anyone protected by the state’s domestic or family violence laws.

The following domestic violence offenses are deportable:

  • stalking,
  • child abuse,
  • child neglect,
  • child abandonment.

Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney is crucial to defend any criminal charge. The advice, guidance, and representation of experienced criminal defense counsel may be crucial to achieving the best possible result in any criminal matter. John Patrick Dolan has forty years of criminal defense experience. Contact Dolan Law Offices today at 760-775-3739 or 562-824-4007 to discuss your situation or find out more online here.

Domestic Violence And Moral Turpitude