If you are not a U.S. citizen and are facing or have been convicted of an aggravated felony, you potentially face very serious immigration consequences and should consult with an immigration lawyer.
What is an immigration aggravated felony?
Aggravated felonies for immigration purposes include things that are not necessarily felonies under criminal law. Basically, a misdemeanor conviction can be an immigration aggravated felony for immigration purposes. Do not plead to a misdemeanor under the assumption that you won’t need to worry about it being an aggravated felony for immigration purposes. You should consult with an immigration lawyer before you plead to any crime.
The Immigration and Nationality Act defines aggravated felonies as:
- murder, rape, or sexual abuse of a minor
- illicit trafficking in a controlled substance, including a drug trafficking crime
- illicit trafficking in firearms, destructive devices, or explosive materials
- money laundering offenses if the amount of the funds exceeded $10,000
- certain offenses relating to explosive materials or firearms
- crimes of violence for which the term of imprisonment is at least one year
- theft offenses, including receipt of stolen property, or burglary offenses for which the term of imprisonment is at least one year
- crimes related to the demand for or receipt of ransom
- crimes related to child pornography
- crimes related to racketeer-influenced corrupt organizations, or a gambling offenses for which a sentence of one year or more of imprisonment may be imposed
- offenses related to owning, controlling, managing, or supervising prostitution; or related to transportation for the purpose of prostitution; or related to slavery and/or involuntary servitude
- offenses related to gathering, transmitting or disclosing national defense or classified information, or treason; or a violation of laws protecting the identity of undercover intelligence agents
- offenses involving fraud or deceit in which the loss exceeds $10,000; or certain tax evasion crimes in which the loss to the government exceeds $10,000
- smuggling convictions under section 274(a)(1)(A) or (2) except for a first offense committed for an immediate family member and no other individual
- convictions for entry without inspection or following deportation where the foreign national was deported previously based on a conviction for an aggravated felony
- offenses for falsely making, forging, counterfeiting, mutilating, or altering a passport or instrument, for which the term of imprisonment is at least 12 months, except where the offense was committed to aid an immediate relative
- offenses related to a failure to appear to serve a sentence if the underlying offense is punishable by imprisonment for a term of five years or more
- offenses related to commercial bribery, counterfeiting, forgery, or trafficking in vehicles with altered identification numbers, for which the term of imprisonment is at least one year
- offenses related to obstruction of justice, perjury, subornation of perjury, or bribery of a witness, for which the term of imprisonment is at least one year
- offenses related to failure to appear before a court pursuant to a court order to answer or dispose of a felony charge for which a sentence of two years imprisonment or more may be imposed
- an attempt or conspiracy to commit any of the above
If you have been charged with any crime, you should ensure that you understand the possible immigration consequences of the criminal charges before you enter into any plea agreement or go to trial.