The immigration statute designates certain types of crimes as “aggravated felonies.” See INA § 101(a)(43), 8 USC § 1101(a)(43). These are the most dangerous type of convictions for a noncitizen. Despite the name, this definition reaches offenses that are neither felonies nor aggravated. It can include selling $10 worth of marijuana, a misdemeanor shoplifting offense with a one-year suspended sentence, or failure to appear at a criminal hearing. The person must be convicted of the offense, not merely commit it, for aggravated felony penalties to apply.
Because so many offenses are unexpectedly classed as aggravated felonies, advocates need to examine each offense carefully to make sure that it is not an aggravated felony. See the alphabetical list of offenses at the end of this Advisory, and look up individual offenses on the California Crim/Imm Chart at www.ilrc.org/chart.