What is an Aggravated Felony?

An aggravated felony is a crime classification used in the United States. To be considered an aggravated felony, a crime must be very serious in nature and can include such offenses as rape, murder and drug or human trafficking. These crimes typically carry severe consequences, such as long jail sentences, the loss of certain rights or privileges, and even the potential for deportation if the accused person is an immigrant. Essentially, these crimes are considered serious enough to result in harsher penalties.

There are many types of crimes that may be categorized as aggravated felonies. Among them are the rape or murder of a minor, illicit drug trafficking, illicit weapons trafficking, and violent crimes that carry sentences of at least one year. Some money laundering, gambling, and ransom crimes may be considered aggravated offenses, and a person may be charged with an aggravated felony for some crimes related to explosives as well.


Some types of aggravated felonies are related to fraud or forgery. For example, a person may be charged with an aggravated felony if he commits fraud that causes his victim to lose more than $10,000 US Dollars. If a person alters a passport, forges one, or makes a counterfeit passport and is given a sentence of a year or more, this type of crime may be considered an aggravated felony as well. Additionally, committing bribery or selling vehicles that have illegally altered vehicle identification numbers may fall under the heading of aggravated felonies if at least 12 months of imprisonment are sentenced.

In many places, prostitution is considered a misdemeanor, which is a less serious crime. Those who manage prostitution rings or supervise prostitution may be charged with aggravated felonies, however. The sames goes for those who engage in human trafficking. Crimes related to child pornography carry these charges as well.

A person can also be charged with an aggravated felony for failing to show up in court for sentencing after he’s been convicted of a crime. This charge may be reserved for those who would have been sentenced to at least five years in prison, however. Perjury and bribery of a witness may be called an aggravated felony if the crime results in sentences of at least a year. If a person fails to show up in court to face felony charges that would normally result in two years in prison, he may be charged with an aggravated felony as well.

While aggravated felony charges carry longer sentences, immigrants may have additional problems to consider. If convicted of this type of crime, an immigrant typically loses the chance to stop deportation by applying for waivers or certain types of exceptions. In fact, he may be permanently barred from the United States. While other non-citizens may be barred for a matter of years because of their crimes, those convicted of aggravated felonies are prohibited from returning for any reason for the rest of their lives.


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