A person who is lawfully residing in the United States but not a citizen may fear that any type of criminal conviction could result in deportation. In fact, only certain types of offenses could be a basis to deport someone.
Generally, federal criminal charges that constitute aggravated felonies could lead to deportation if there is a conviction. Not all aggravated felonies are actual felony offenses and they don’t all represent an aggravated form of a specific felony.
Examples of federal offenses that are aggravated felonies
For the most part, serious crimes are grounds for deportation. The most serious aggravated felonies include but are not limited to the following offenses:
- Drug trafficking
- Money laundering in excess of $10,000
- RICO offenses for which the term of a sentence is greater than one year
- Theft or receipt of stolen property offenses for which the term of a sentence is greater than one year
How does the law categorize aggravated felonies?
Congress rather than law enforcement agencies or courts determines what crimes are aggravated felonies. It will periodically change what crimes fall within this category. Congress has recently expanded the list to include several more offenses than it previously had.
Criminal defendants could have to contend with immigration status problems even if a crime was not an aggravated felony at the time that they committed it or when they had a conviction. It is extremely important that non-residents mount a strong legal defense against any type of criminal charge that they are facing.