Fourth Circuit Rules that Maryland’s 2nd Degree Assault is NOT a Crime of Violence


The Fourth (4th) Circuit Court just ruled that Maryland’s 2nd Degree Assault is categorically NOT a crime of violence! (US v. Royal)

A Maryland second-degree assault conviction will no longer will be considered an aggravated felony crime of violence, regardless of the sentence imposed or the facts of the case.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over immigration cases from Maryland and Virginia, issued a decision on October 1, 2013 that states that a conviction under the Maryland second-degree assault statute, CR 3-203(a), is categorically (i.e., never) a “crime of violence” and thus never an aggravated felony, because a person can be convicted under the statute for “any unlawful touching, whether violent or nonviolent and no matter how slight.” U.S. v. Royal, __ F.3d __, No. 10-5296 (Oct. 1, 2013), slip op at 18-19.

Although the case arose out of a criminal sentencing context, the same analysis should apply in the immigration context.* As previously stated, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals also has jurisdiction over the state of Virginia, so this ruling could positively impact immigration rulings in the future.

Have questions about how criminal charges could affect your or a loved one’s immigration proceedings? Contact Fayad Law, P.C. to discuss your situation with our experienced immigration team!

*See Karimi v. Holder, 715 F.3d 568 (4th Cir. 2013) [cited in Royal]; Prudencio v. Holder, 669 F.3d 472 (4th Cir. 2012).

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