Modified Categorical Approach

By Attorney Yifei He

Earlier we discussed the categorial approach Courts employ to determine whether a crime is one involving moral turpitude (CMT). We also explained that if the State definition of a CMT is not sufficiently similar to the generic Federal definition of a CMT, additional analysis would be necessary.

One analysis the Courts employ is the modified categorical approach. Courts will use this approach when a single statute lists many elements  constituting the crime. For example, a State statute might define robbery as “the lawful entry or the unlawful entry” into premises with intent to steal. Only an unlawful entry with intent to steal would create a CMT. Therefore, in order to determine whether the Defendant did in fact commit a CMT, the sentencing court looks to the indictment, jury instructions, or plea agreement and colloquy to determine what crime, with what elements, a defendant was convicted of. See ibid. ; Taylor, 495 U.S., at 602110 S.Ct. 2143.

Given the nebulous concept of any criminal offense, you need to contact an experienced immigration attorney to determine the effect of a crime on your immigration status. If you or anyone you know is in the situations I discussed, please contact me for legal assistance. I have handled many successful cases in the past. I will eliminate remaining concerns about your immigration status and your criminal records.