A criminal conviction can make the immigration process even more challenging than it is already. There are several types of crimes that affect an immigrant's ability to obtain a Visa or Green Card. One of these crimes is aggravated assault.
U.S. federal law considers certain crimes to be of "moral turpitude", or CIMT. A CIMT is one that is committed with a vile and depraved intent, and it is intrinsically wrong. Moral turpitude crimes include murder, kidnapping, drunk driving, and yes, aggravated assault.
Under N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b), it constitutes aggravated assault to:
- Purposely, knowingly or recklessly cause serious bodily injury, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.
- Purposely, knowingly or recklessly cause bodily injury by using a deadly weapon.
- Purposely, knowingly or recklessly cause significant bodily injury, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.
- Commit simple assault against certain persons given special protection by New Jersey law due to their occupations.
Aggravated assault in New Jersey is a CIMT, and an aggravated felony, crime of violence, if the Court imposes a term of 1 year or more of incarceration.
Can I still get a visa if there is an aggravated assault conviction on my record?
A criminal defense attorney representing an immigrant has the duty to negotiate a plea to a charge that does not affect his client's immigration status. In most instances, the prosecutor will accept a plea to a negligence crime, which does not constitute a crime of moral turpitude.
While there is generally no relief to a conviction for an aggravated felony, waivers are available for CIMT convictions to immigrants that have qualifying relatives that will suffer extreme hardship if the Visa is denied.
If you are an immigrant and have been charged with aggravated assault, contact a New Jersey Immigration Attorney to protect your immigration status.