Written by attorney Robert Keates



Question: What is a Crime of Moral Turpitude, and what offenses or arrests are considered Moral Turpitude?

Answer: Moral turpitude is the terms for a legal idea meaning "conduct that is considered contrary to community standards of justice, honesty or good morals." The concept of moral turpitude can be used to identify or describe certain crimes that involve an "act of baseness, vileness or depravity in the private and social duties which a man owes to his fellowmen, or to society in general, contrary to the accepted and customary rule of right and duty between man and man."

Deferred Adjudication or disposition, with a plea of nolo contendre, may prevent the consequences by avoiding conviction.

The specific crimes or arrests that are deemed Crimes of Moral Turpitude has significance in several areas of law, especially for those arrested for an offense considered a Crime of Moral Turpitude. First, prior conviction of a crime of moral turpitude (or in some jurisdictions, moral turpitude conduct, even without a conviction) is considered to have a bearing on the honesty of a person, especially if that person is a witness in other legal proceedings. A conviction (and in some areas, a mere arrest) may be grounds to deny or revoke a professional license such as a teaching credential, license to practice law, or other licensed profession that is regulated by the state or federal government. Lastly, it is of great importance for immigration purposes, as offenses defined as involving moral turpitude are considered bars toimmigration into the U.S.

According to the Texas Administrative Code, TITLE 22 EXAMINING BOARDS PART 22 TEXAS STATE BOARD OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTANCY, CHAPTER 519 PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE, SUBCHAPTER A GENERAL PROVISIONS RULE §519.7 Misdemeanors that Subject a Certificate or Registration Holder to Discipline by the Board:

(a) Final conviction or placement on deferred adjudication, deferred prosecution, withheld adjudication or community supervision in connection with misdemeanors that involve dishonesty or fraud may subject a certificate or registration holder to disciplinary action pursuant to §501.90 of this title (relating to Discreditable Acts). Because a certificate or registration holder is often placed in a position of trust with respect to client funds, and the public in general, and the business community in particular, rely on the veracity, integrity and honesty of certificate or registration holders in the preparation of reports and provision of other accounting services, the board considers conviction or placement on deferred adjudication, deferred prosecution, withheld adjudication or community supervision for any crime involving dishonesty or fraud to relate directly to the practice of public accountancy and may subject the certificate or registration holder to discipline by the board.

The board has determined that misdemeanor offenses that involve dishonesty or fraud directly relate to the practice of accounting pursuant to Sections 53.021, 53.022, 53.023 and 53.025 of the Occupations Code.

The following non-exclusive list of misdemeanor offenses may involve dishonesty or fraud:

(1) Theft; (2) Theft of Service; (3) Tampering with Identification Numbers; (4) Theft of or Tampering with Multichannel Video or Information Services; (5) Manufacture, Distribution, or Advertisement of Multichannel Video or Information Services Device; (6) Sale or Lease of Multichannel Video or Information Services Device; (7) Possession, Manufacture, or Distribution of Certain Instruments Used to Commit Retail Theft; (8) Forgery; (9) Criminal Simulation; (10) Trademark Counterfeiting; (11) Stealing or Receiving Stolen Check or Similar Sight Order; (12) False Statement to Obtain Property or Credit; (13) Hindering Secured Creditors; (14) Credit Card Transaction Record Laundering; (15) Issuance of Bad Check; (16) Deceptive Business Practices; (17) Rigging Publicly Exhibited Contest; (18) Misapplication of Fiduciary Property or Property of Financial Institution; (19) Securing Execution of Document by Deception; (20) Fraudulent Destruction, Removal, or Concealment of Writing; (21) Simulating Legal Process; (22) Refusal to Execute Release of Fraudulent Lien or Claim; (23) Breach of Computer Security; (24) Unauthorized Use of Telecommunications Service; (25) Theft of Telecommunications Service; (26) Publication of Telecommunications Access Device; (27) Insurance Fraud; (28) False Alarm or Report; (29) Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity; (30) Violation of Court Order Enjoining Organized Criminal Activity; (31) Unlawful Use of Criminal Instrument; (32) Unlawful Access to Stored Communications; (33) Burglary of Vehicles; (34) Burglary of Coin-Operated or Coin Collection Machines; (35) Coercion of Public Servant or Voter; (36) Improper Influence; (37) Gift to Public Servant by Person Subject to His Jurisdiction; (38) Offering Gift to Public Servant; (39) Perjury; (40) False Report to Peace Officer or Law Enforcement Employee; (41) Tampering With or Fabricating Physical Evidence; (42) Tampering With Governmental Record; (43) Fraudulent Filing of Financing Statement; (44) False Identification as Peace Officer; (45) Misrepresentation of Property;

Read the Full Text of the Code

*Keep in mind that Texas State Case Law has a profound effect on determinations of Law, Licensing, and CMT.

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