Law Dictionary

moral turpitude

noun moral tur·pi·tude \-ˈtər-pə-ˌtüd, -ˌtyüd\

Legal Definition of moral turpitude

  1. 1 :  an act or behavior that gravely violates the sentiment or accepted standard of the community

  2. 2 :  a quality of dishonesty or other immorality that is determined by a court to be present in the commission of a criminal offense a crime involving moral turpitude — compare malum in se

Additional Notes on moral turpitude

Whether a criminal offense involves moral turpitude is an important determination in deportation, disbarment, and other disciplinary hearings. Past crimes involving moral turpitude usually may also be introduced as evidence to impeach testimony. Crimes such as theft, perjury, and vice crimes have been found to involve moral turpitude.


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