Austin Alien Smuggling Attorneys
Defense Against Alien Smuggling Charges
Alien smuggling involves bringing a noncitizen to the U.S. or helping such a person remain in this country without going through the proper channels. The offenses make up just over 10% of all immigration crimes. It carries harsh penalties, with some types of conduct resulting in mandatory minimum prison terms. The federal government does not take these violations lightly. If you have been charged with alien smuggling, act fast to get a lawyer on your side. You need an attorney ready to go up against federal prosecutors on your behalf.
For skilled and experienced legal representation, reach out to Peek & Toland. Our Austin and San Antonio alien smuggling lawyers are thoroughly familiar with the federal justice system and the laws and rules that apply to these cases. We can help you understand your rights and legal options. By listening to your side of the story, we can create an innovative defense strategy to fight your charge and work toward a favorable result.
What’s Considered Alien Smuggling?
A person may be accused of alien smuggling if they bring into the U.S. a noncitizen. They may also face allegations if, knowing that someone is not lawfully in this country, they help the individual hide or transport them. Charges may arise regardless of whether the alien had official authorization to enter the country. If the smuggled person was not taken to a designated port of entry upon arrival, any conduct allowing their stay is an offense.
Federal law concerning alien smuggling crimes prohibits the following acts:
- Smuggling: Bringing or attempting to bring a non-U.S. citizen into the country
- Transporting: Traveling within the U.S. with someone who entered illegally
- Harboring: Shielding or concealing someone who is unlawfully in the U.S.
- Encouraging: Inducing a person to unlawfully enter the U.S.
- Bringing: Helping a person enter the U.S. when that individual does not have prior authorization
No matter what you have been accused of, speak with a Peek & Toland team member to discuss your case and possible defenses.
What Are the Penalties for Alien Smuggling?
Regardless of the conduct involved in the offense, an alien smuggling conviction can result in incarceration and/or fines.
Potential penalties include:
- Up to 10 years for smuggling
- Up to 5 years for transporting, harboring, or encouraging
- Up to 1 year for bringing
- Up to 20 years if serious bodily injury resulted
- Up to life if death resulted
Sentence enhancements may apply if the defendant brought a criminal alien into the country, the offense was committed for financial gain, or one or more persons smuggled was an unaccompanied minor.
On average, those convicted of an alien smuggling offense receive 18 months of imprisonment.
Schedule a Consultation Today
When being investigated for or charged with alien smuggling, one of the first steps to take is consulting with a criminal defense attorney. Even at the early stages of your case, they can help protect your rights and prevent you from making missteps that could harm affect the outcome.