What is an Aggravated Crime?

The term aggravated crime refers to an offense that’s more serious as a result of its specific elements. The best way to understand what constitutes an aggravated crime is to look at an example. If someone is charged with assault, it means they physically attacked someone else. But if they’re charged with aggravated assault, it means they not only attacked someone, but they did so with the use of a dangerous weapon.

When an individual is charged with an aggravated crime, the potential sentencing is worse than a standard crime. In most cases, aggravated crimes are classified as felonies, which means they are punishable by a prison sentence.Lady-justice

Are Plea Bargains Available for Aggravated Assault Charges?

While the potential sentencing of someone charged with aggravated assault will be harsher than someone charged with simple assault, it’s still possible for an individual facing this charge to be offered a plea bargain. For example, even though it’s a very high profile case, prosecutors offered NFL running back Ray Rice a plea bargain that would spare him jail time in exchange for participating in anger management counseling.

Does an Aggravated Felony Have the Same Meaning?

Although many people assume that the terms aggravated crime and aggravated felony refer to the same offenses, there’s actually a very important distinction. The term aggravated felony is used to refer to offenses that can have serious consequences for non-citizens who are convicted.

If someone is convicted of an aggravated felony, it means they can’t receive most of the types of relief that would prevent them from being deported. It’s also important to note that while the term aggravated crime refers to an offense that involves some form of escalated violence, the same isn’t true for an aggravated felony.

Because of the way that the aggravated felony provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act is written, there are numerous examples of cases involving individuals being deported for crimes that would normally be classified as nonviolent or even trivial.

If someone is convicted of an aggravated felony, potential consequences include being deported without going through a removal hearing, not being eligible for asylum, ineligibility for cancellation of removal and not being able to opt for voluntary departure. Additional consequences that may stem from this type of conviction include being barred from ever reentering the United States, as well as facing a stricter penalty for reentering. Specifically, while the standard sentence for illegal reentry is two years, someone who’s been convicted of an aggravated felony could face up to twenty years.

Aggravated felonies received a significant amount of media attention at the start of 2014. This was the result of questions about whether Justin Bieber’s bad behavior could result in him being deported. While it’s unlikely that Bieber will face deportation, this attention shed light on the fact that 10% of all deportees are legal immigrants, and 84% of immigrants represent themselves in court.

For the latest stories involving aggravated crimes and celebrities breaking the law, visit FederalCriminalLaw.com.