What Are Moral Crimes?


Moral crimes involve acts against humanity or gross violation of moral code. In United States law, criminals can be punished more harshly for acts involving such moral turpitude. While moral conduct is subjective, there are certain inalienable rights that when violated constitute a moral crime. Often these can be related to the 10 Commandments, not as a basis of religion, but rather a thought of human rights adopted by the world as a basic standard of living.

Crimes Against a Person

  • Many of the moral laws are not tried in the United States unless it is a pattern of behavior. That being the case, certain crimes blatantly violate a person's right to exist. These crimes include murder and reckless conduct resulting in death. Violating a person's right to freedom such as by kidnapping is considered a moral crime. Physically attacking a person causing damage to his body violates moral safety codes. Other moral crimes against a person taken very seriously are those crimes committed against peace officers. As these people are charged with protecting the public, it is considered morally repugnant to attack or interfere with the work of officers.

Crimes Against Property

  • Embezzlement, forgery and arson are often considered the big moral crimes not involving physical harm. The plan to steal from others or from companies requires a pre-meditation of evil meeting the standard for moral injustice. Burning down homes or basic shelter works to prove moral turpitude due to the implications of destroying a person's shelter.

Sexual and Human Trafficking Crimes

  • Rape of any type or molestation is considered a crime with moral implications. This type of crime can happen inside or outside of the family unit. Sexual misconduct allows for more stringent sentencing due to the morality issues of forced behavior. Selling or buying human beings also comes with a moral turpitude clause. The United States believes in every human's right to freedom so selling individuals for any cause or holding them captive until a debt is paid comes with moral implications in the eyes of the law. Sometimes human trafficking offenses are in conjunction with sexual crimes but do not always have such a component.

Crimes Against the Government

  • Moral turpitude laws seem a bit more subjective when you consider the crimes against the government. In order to put these types of crime in the correct frame of reference you must think of the other people being hurt when the government is defrauded, this adds the moral component to the crime. These crimes include things such as counterfeiting, bribery, harboring a fugitive and draft evasion. Counterfeiting hurts the overall currency thereby affecting the masses. Bribery is considered morally wrong for the person bribing and the one who accepts the bribe. Money should not come before proper behavior. Harboring a fugitive endangers others. This is how you can see the moral issue even though these crimes are committed against the government instead of a single person.


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