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Aggravated Felonies

What New Jersey Crimes Can Be Called an Immigration Aggravated Felony?

Like the term Crime Involving Moral Turpitude (“CIMT”), an Aggravated Felony is a legal “term of art.” However, unlike a CIMT that is conceivably more open to debate, an Aggravated Felony has arguably clearer borders because its generic definition can be found in a wide range of criminal offenses specifically catalogued in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) under Section 101(a)(43). Conviction of an Aggravated Felony can pose even greater adverse immigration consequences for a non-US citizen than a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude including ineligibility for many forms of immigration relief in immigration court as well as permanent ineligibility for naturalization. Conviction of an Aggravated Felony will also pose a statutory bar to a grant of asylum.

A Brief List of Some Common Aggravated Felonies

The complete list of aggravated felonies can be found in INA 101(a)(43). Some common aggravated felonies listed include the following:

Murder, rape, or sexual abuse of a minor, INA 101(a)(43)(A) Some New Jersey statutes potentially implicated are

  • Murder, NJSA 2C:11-1
  • Sexual Assault, NJSA 2C:14-2

Illicit Trafficking in Controlled Substances, INA 101(a)(43)(B)

Illicit Trafficking in Firearms or Destructive Devices, INA 101(a)(43)(C)

Money Laundering Offenses Over $10,000, INA 101(a)(43)(D)

Crimes of Violence With A Term of Imprisonment of 1 Year, INA 101(A)(43)(F)
Examples of New Jersey criminal offenses that may be flagged as Aggravated Felony

  • Aggravated Assault (NJSA 2C:12-1b)
  • Assault by Auto (NJSA 2C:12-1c).

Theft Offense With A Term of Imprisonment of 1 Year, INA 101(A)(43)(G)
Examples of New Jersey criminal offenses that may trigger Aggravated Felony concerns include

  • Theft, NJSA 2C:20-3, NJSA 20-4
  • Shoplifting, NJSA 2C:20-11
  • Receiving Stolen Property, NJSA 2C:20-7

Child Pornography Offense, INA 101(a)(43)(I)
Example of an offense potentially triggering Aggravated Felony:

  • Possession of Child Pornography, NJSA 2C:24-4

Fraud or Deceit Offenses or Tax Evasion, INA 101(a)(43)(M)(i)(ii)
Example of crime that may trigger Aggravated Felony:

  • Theft by Deception, NJSA 2C:20-4
  • Credit Card Theft, NJSA 2C:21-6

Failure to Appear for Sentence If Underlying Offense Punishable by 5 Years or More, INA 101(a)(43)(Q)

Obstruction of Justice, Perjury, or Bribery of a Witness, INA 101(a)(43)(S)

Failure to Appear for Court For Offense Punishable By At Least 2 Years, INA 101(a)(43)(T)

Although the Aggravated Felony label is a federal term, it can potentially encompass a broad group of not only federal felonies, but also federal misdemeanors as well as state felonies and misdemeanors. In the case of New Jersey, this potentially applies to some indictable and non-indictable criminal offenses under Title 2C of the New Jersey Criminal Code. Certain categories of aggravated felonies have defining characteristics. For example, there are some aggravated felonies that require imposition of a jail sentence of 1 year or more. Importantly, suspension of the jail sentence will not insulate the foreign national. Other aggravated felonies hinge on whether the underlying crime is a “crime of violence,” which is a highly technical analysis. There is also a category of aggravated felonies that depend on whether a monetary loss of $10,000 or more can be established.

New Jersey Aggravated Felony Immigration Lawyers

Just like identifying and determining whether a crime is a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude, it is strongly recommended that an individual seek the counsel of a “crimmigration” attorney, that is, an immigration attorney versed in criminal procedure and practice. For more information and help, please contact our office for a confidential consultation.