An assault sentenced for three years is not automatically an aggravated felony
Criminal prosecutions automatically put defendants in a challenging situation. Non-United States citizens face additional challenges when charged with offenses that can put in jeopardy their immigration status and adjustment of status.
When a non-United States citizen is charged with assault, I do my best to avoid a felony assault conviction (versus misdemeanor assault conviction), and seek for the total of active and suspended jail time not to exceed 179 days ideally (to try to get it treated as a petty offense) or at worst for the sentence to be under one year.
Congratulations to Ali Sina Karimi today, for convincing two of three Fourth Circuit panel judges that the record in his case does not qualify his Maryland misdemeanor assault conviction and sentence (three years imprisonment, suspending all but four months) as an aggravated felony. Karimi v. Holder, ___ F.3d ___ (May 13, 2013).
The assault victim, a police officer, alleged that as "Karimi grabbed her, he spat on her arm, then ‘jumped up and acted as if he was going to strike [her] with his free hand.’" For the Fourth Circuit’s 2-1 panel majority, the foregoing allegations did not suffie to qualify as an aggravated felony.