Most immigrants in California understand that a felony arrest record can mean real trouble for visa and green cardholders. These convictions can result in deportation or a downgrade in the immigration status for the individual. The consequence for each immigrant will depend on the offense committed, current immigration status and other specifics of the case.

Aggravated felonies as they pertain to immigration law include some offenses handled as misdemeanors when committed by American citizens. There are also cases where the offense committed is not an actual crime.

The aggravated felony category became part of immigration law in 1988. There was a time when this offense category applied to immigrants who committed serious criminal offenses like murder, drug trafficking and illegal weapon sales. Since that time, many crimes have been added by Congress to the list of aggravated felonies. Added crimes include theft, fraudulent tax filings, failing to make a court appearance and battery.

Acts that are beneath the acceptable standards of morality for a community are known as crimes of moral turpitude in immigration law. Perjury, wire fraud and child abuse are all examples of moral turpitude offenses, and they are the equivalent of aggravated felonies for immigration purposes.

An immigrant guilty of a criminal offense will have their status reviewed by Citizenship and Immigration Services. While the action taken is purely at the discretion of USCIS, the agency commonly rules in favor of deportations for immigrants convicted of aggravated felonies.

Convictions for felony offenses and other crimes can have a huge effect on the future of an individual. There is more to lose when the offender is an immigrant to the country. Immigrants facing criminal charges in America may benefit from consulting with an immigration attorney as early in the process as possible.