Affirmative Defenses Against Smuggling Noncitizens

Posted By Guerra & Farah, PLLC || 13-Jul-2015

Under United States federal law, it is illegal for someone that is not a citizen of the United States or a valid visa holder to enter the country. No matter if the accused was performing a criminal act or helping a beloved family member, the broad privisions outlined in the law can find the alleged helper facing severe criminal charges.

Were you helping a friend or family member and accused of smuggling in El Paso or across Texas? Don't wait to get criminal defense. A strong advocate on your side can help you avoid a serious criminal charge. Speak with a member of our legal team for more information!

Smuggling noncitizens into the United States is a crime and includes actions, such as:

  • Knowingly enabling an noncitizen to enter the United States (even if previously authorized) at any location that is not a designated port of entry or authorized entry location
  • Knowingly or recklessly disregarding the law by concealing or harboring a noncitizen who has illegally entered the United States
  • Knowingly and with reckless disregard for illegal status, transporting or offering transportation to the noncitizen within the United States
  • Encouraging or influencing noncitizens to enter the United States illegally
  • Conspiring to do any of the above
  • Aiding or abetting any of the above

Under Title 8 U.S.C. §1324 Bringing in and harboring certain aliens penalties include up to 5, 10, 15 or 20 years in prison, depending on the nature of the offense.With so much on the line, it is worthwhile to discover what possible defenses may be available to you during this time. For example, someone that brings an undocumented noncitizen to an immigation officer for inspection may find themselves facing reduced criminal charges.

Numerous defense strategies are available to challenge such charges, for example:

  • Proving the accused had no knowledge of the noncitizens’s illegal status because of the extent of concealment, a language barrier, previous relationships that appeared legal, etc.
  • Arguing there is no evidence to show intent to further the noncitizen’s illegal U.S. presence
  • Showing that a material witness to the alleged crime has a history of lying or is otherwise an unreliable witness
  • Entering motions to suppress material witness testimony
  • Entering a motion to dismiss the indictment based on noncitizen deportation when the noncitizen could have provided favorable testimony to the defense

When accused of smuggling noncitizens, you face felony charges. It is wise to seek legal help from experienced El Paso criminal defense lawyers as soon as possible.

Categories: Criminal Defense