Criminal Defense of Immigrants


§ 19.23 III. Definitions of Specific Aggravated Felony Offenses

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This discussion will focus on the definitions of particular aggravated felony offenses, organized alphabetically according to the name of the offense in question.  Remember that any given conviction may fall within more than one category.[301]  The DHS is not required to charge noncitizens under the aggravated felony category that best describes the offense of conviction.  Rather, the DHS can successfully charge any aggravated felony category as a ground of deportation as long as the offense falls within that category.[302]


Although not a separate aggravated felony category, the topic of statutory rape is discussed separately from the crime of violence and sexual abuse of a minor aggravated felonies.  See § 19.92, infra.

[301] According to the Third Circuit, certain “hybrid” offenses must meet all relevant portions of the definition to qualify as an aggravated felony.  Nugent v. Ashcroft, 367 F.3d 162 (3d Cir. May 7, 2004) (because theft by deception falls in both the theft and fraud portions of the aggravated felony definition, a conviction for theft by deception must (a) be punished by at least one year imprisonment, and (b) have a loss to the victims in excess of $10,000).

[302] Bobb v. Att’y Gen. of the United States, 458 F.3d 213 (3d Cir. Aug. 3, 2006); but see Nugent v. Ashcroft, 367 F.3d 162 (3d Cir. 2004) (offense that is both fraud and theft must meet both sentence and loss requirements).