Felonies are a group of crimes classified by the most serious offenses. An American citizen who commits a felony may lose their freedom for a specific amount of time through serving a prison sentence. However, a non-citizen who commits a felony may have their immigration status changed.

What Is an Aggravated Felony According to the U.S. Immigration Law?

An “aggravated” felony refers to a serious crime in federal law. However, the aggravated felony is determined by state law, not federal law. Therefore, the crime does not have to include the term “aggravated” in its description, like aggravated assault, to count as an aggravated crime. Thus, an aggravated felony can be a:

  • Minor crime such as a misdemeanor
  • Non-violent crime

For instance, if an immigrant was convicted of misdemeanor battery, they can be told by the U.S. Immigration authorities to leave the country if the authorities view the battery as an aggravated felony.

Which Crimes Are Considered Aggravated Felonies?

The crimes considered aggravated felonies are described in the Immigration and Nationality Act. They include:

  • Rape
  • Murder
  • Racketeering
  • Fraud
  • Perjury with a one-year sentence
  • Child pornography
  • Kidnapping
  • Commercial bribery
  • Tax evasion of more than $10,000
  • Any violent crime with a criminal sentence of at least one year
  • Theft with a criminal sentence of at least one year

What Benefits Will a Noncitizen Convicted of an Aggravated Felony Lose?

A noncitizen who commits an aggravated felony may lose:

  • Eligibility to receive asylum
  • Eligibility to receive a green card or U.S. visa
  • Right to remain in the country
  • Right to become a citizen

Do I Need to Talk to an Attorney about a Felony Charge?

A lot of situations concerning whether a crime is considered an aggravated felony may end up in appeals court. You should seek the help of a knowledgeable immigration attorney to understand more about a felony charge and how it may change your immigration status.