The United States has many federal laws, and there are also state and local statutes that a person could break without even realizing it. Obscure laws govern everything from the public use of profanity to the collection of certain kinds of bird feathers.

Those living in the United States as immigrants can actually wind up arrested without any intention to violate the law. For those who do get arrested, it is common for them to worry about how an arrest will impact their immigration status.

Specifically, many people worry about the potential of deportation after an arrest or conviction for a criminal offense. Thankfully, not all crimes will have a direct impact on your immigration status or result in a potential deportation.

Crimes of moral turpitude can impact your lawful residence in the United States

Some crimes occur because people were unaware of the law or wound up in unusual situations. Other crimes are indicative of significant issues and may indicate that the person who committed them presents an ongoing threat to society.

Generally speaking, only serious offenses will impact your immigration case, and only crimes of moral turpitude have the potential to result in deportation hearings. However, it can be hard for someone to determine whether their crime is a crime of moral turpitude.

Crimes of moral turpitude are serious offenses that most members of society would consider reprehensible, that show a lack of ethics or that violate the basic human decency that one person owes to another. Judges presiding over immigration cases have some degree of discretion when determining whether an offense constitutes a crime of moral turpitude or not.

Protecting yourself from deportation after an arrest

There are many things you can do to protect yourself after an arrest that you fear could impact your immigration status or ability to secure your Green Card in the future. The first is to defend yourself against the pending criminal charges to avoid a conviction.

The next step, especially after a conviction, could be developing evidence that supports an argument that the offense was not a crime of moral turpitude. Getting the right help in your initial defense or in your deportation defense can be the difference between staying in the United States and having no choice but to leave.