In the past, we’ve covered what alien smuggling is and what to do if you are facing an alien smuggling charge. We want to take a closer look at the risks associated with aiding illegal border crossing into Texas, the possible penalties and years in prison you face if convicted, and the options you have for a strong criminal defense.
What is Alien Smuggling?
The federal code for illegal alien smuggling is any act in any way at any time that assists somebody with the unlawful entry into the United States, and we’ve covered some of the details and misconceptions surrounding that federal violation that you should review for better knowledge and understanding of illegal border crossing and alien smuggling.
Hello, and welcome back to In Your Defense. I’m attorney Steve Toland. I want to spend a little time today talking about the state charge of alien smuggling, and that’s giving someone a ride who doesn’t have legal status in the United States, uh, with the intent to help them avoid being detected by authorities. And believe it or not, we’re seeing an incredible amount of state charges being brought for people doing that. And in the past, we had only seen, uh, the federal charge of illegal alien smuggling.
The federal code for illegal alien smuggling is quite broad, but the Texas penal code includes several types of offense that can increase the penalties you face if convicted of the crime of aiding someone in illegal border crossing.
What is illegal alien smuggling exactly? It’s when you, with prior knowledge, agree to give a ride to an illegal immigrant who is unlawfully crossing the border into the U.S., help them avoid detection, or to conceal them in any way. The laws concerning this unlawful act include several aspects of the crime that and greatly affect your criminal charges and your criminal defense strategy.
Felony Charges for Illegal Alien Smuggling
Simply being apprehended in the act of harboring an illegal immigrant with intent to illegally cross the border places you at great risk for a third-degree felony. Texas code includes additional charges and penalties for the receipt of pecuniary funds.
What are pecuniary funds in relation to illegal alien smuggling? That’s just a really convoluted way of saying you received payment for the illegal act of harboring and aiding an illegal immigrant in their crossing the border. The definition if this illegal aspect is quite broad, so even receiving gas money from an illegal immigrant in the process of this crime can be construed as pecuniary funds and can be used against you to raise the degree of your suspected crime.
You could possibly face 10 years in prison if caught and convicted of this crime, and you could be looking at much more serious charges and penalties for smuggling an illegal immigrant who is under the age of 18. Our sagest immigration and criminal defense law advice is to NOT commit these crimes, and we want to be sure you know that harboring and transporting an illegal immigrant minor will bump up that third degree felony to a second degree felony.
The safety or potential peril of the illegal immigrants you are harboring and transporting also weighs heavily on the charges and penalties you will face if caught. Think of common driving infractions like speeding, occupant capacity, and seatbelt infractions, and know that any and all of those crimes can make the charges for the offense of illegal alien smuggling skyrocket.
Any aspect of the transportation that could cause serious bodily harm to the illegal immigrants you are harboring increases the penalties you face, especially if anyone in your care is killed in the midst of the journey. These types of offense can land you in prison for up to 20 years.
An illegal alien smuggling charge can even end up being a first degree felony if it is learned that, as a result of you transporting them, an illegal immigrant you helped transport to the U.S. ends up being a victim of sexual assault.
So, a simple favor for a friend of a friend can quickly escalate and leave you facing criminal charges. If you or a loved one have questions about immigration law, illegal alien smuggling charges, or need other legal advice on a strong criminal defense from well-practiced attorneys and experts with over 20 years of experience and hundreds of immigration cases under their belt, please call us as soon as possible. We’re always here to help.