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Collateral Effects of Alien Smuggling: A Case Study

Alien smuggling is a topic we’ve covered in some detail recently, and it’s still worth mentioning again because it is so prevalent and can affect you and your loved ones in a way you’d probably not considered.

When discussing criminal charges and hypotheticals, it can be difficult to place ourselves in those positions and imagine the lingering effects that criminal charges can have on our life and the lives of others. So we wanted to drive home some aspects of alien smuggling through a real-life, practical, understandable account one of our clients had to endure.

We represented a recent high school graduate and his mother in defense of alien smuggling charges. It might sound crazy, but we’re about to tell you how they were affected by alien smuggling having no knowledge they were committing a crime. 

This hard-working, loving mother and her son are U.S. citizens. Like many parents to high school graduates in the U.S., this mother wanted to help him in his new chapter of life, so she did so by co-signing the loan for her son’s new truck. We all know that co-signing a loan for a car makes you legally responsible for the payments, and any missed payments can wreck your credit. But, did you know that as a co-signer, you can also be affected by some illegal activity committed in the car for which you co-signed?

When this mother decided to put her credit and name on the line for her son’s new truck, she had complete faith in him to make the monthly payments on time. Unfortunately for this mother, her son made some missteps that had nothing to do with payments. Instead, it lead to his life and his mother’s life being negatively affected.

You see, her son decided to help out a friend with a ride, so he met his friend at a McDonald’s near a border town and picked up his friend. It came as quite a surprise when these two young men were pulled over by the police, resulting in our client being charged with alien smuggling. This charge and its lingering effects are difficult enough to fight, as it is, but it gets worse. Alien smuggling has such a broad statute on forfeitures, his car (the one co-signed for by mom) was seized. Any vessel used in commission of the crime of alien smuggling will be seized.

So, not only did our client have to tell his mother that he’s been arrested and will require legal defense, but he also had to relay that his mother’s name and credit were in dire trouble as a result of his actions.

Despite this poor decision, our clients were wise enough to seek an experienced criminal defense and immigration counsel from us at Peek & Toland. We were able to get all charges dismissed successfully, and their truck returned to them. This was not without an emotional and financial burden on the family.

We are experts in this area of law and understand how quickly these things can happen. If this happens to you or someone you love, you have just a short window of time to respond with available defenses. If you have any questions about forfeitures and alien smuggling statutes, please give us a call here at Peek & Toland. We’re always glad to help.

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Posted in Criminal Defense, Immigration

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