Smuggling Illegal Immigrants Lawyer
Florida has one of the largest coastlines in the United States. With such an extensive coast, the state has become a hotspot for illegal immigrant smuggling. If you’re under investigation for illegal smuggling, you do not have the option to wait and see what happens. You may be facing severe criminal charges and penalties. An experienced criminal defense attorney can provide you with aggressive representation to protect your rights.
What Does Smuggling Illegal Immigrants Entail?
Bringing in or harboring illegal immigrants in the United States is a federal crime prosecuted more and more by ICE. Ever since the September 11 attacks, ICE has increased the prosecution of illegal immigrants and those accused of helping them enter and remain in the country.
ICE also takes more interest in these cases because traveling conditions are dangerous for illegal immigrants and U.S. citizens.
Smuggling illegal immigrants can happen a few different ways. Alien smuggling is when an individual knowingly brings someone into the United States via an undesignated port of entry, regardless of whether the immigrant had prior permission to enter the country.
Alien smuggling can also occur when someone knows and disregards the fact that an illegal immigrant has entered the country and then helps them move to a different part of the U.S. Hiding an illegal alien in your home also counts as smuggling.
You also could be accused of this crime if you encourage an illegal immigrant to come to the country, regardless of citizenship.
If you aid an illegal immigrant in returning to the U.S. after they were deported, you could face severe penalties. Illegal reentry is a serious crime, and you could face harsh penalties or jail time of up to 20 years.
Penalties for Smuggling Illegal Immigrants
Many immigrants from Haiti, Cuba, and the Bahamas come to Florida illegally. U.S. citizens who aid them in coming to the country may see themselves as heroes for rescuing illegal immigrants from their country’s harsh living conditions. Many illegal immigrants who make it to the U.S. often receive asylum, because if they were to return to their home country, they might be severely persecuted. However, you could still face serious charges.
Unlike some other crimes, first-time offenders face severe penalties if caught harboring or transporting an illegal immigrant. However, you could still face the consequences. When determining punishment, courts look to see if money was involved and how many people were involved.
Generally, though, punishment is consistent. You can be sentenced to 10 years in prison for bringing or attempting to bring an illegal immigrant into the U.S. You can also be sentenced to 10 years in prison for transporting or harboring an illegal immigrant for profit. However, if there was no money involved, the sentence is reduced to five years.
If you smuggle an illegal immigrant and it results in bodily harm or risk of death, you can be sentenced to 20 years in prison. If someone were to die while being smuggled, you could face life in prison.
Defenses Against Alien Smuggling
A skilled criminal defense attorney can help defend you if you’re charged with smuggling illegal immigrants. There are many defenses an attorney can use, but the most common are:
- Lack of evidence of involvement
- Absence of proof of a “conspiracy”
- Lack of knowledge that the person(s) transported entered the United States illegally
Even if a person is convicted or pleads guilty at trial, a criminal defense attorney can make arguments that may reduce the punishment. Federal Sentencing Guidelines increase the sentence based on the number of illegal immigrants smuggled. If the government provides an incorrect number, your attorney will present the information to a judge.
Other factors that would affect the admissibility of evidence in your case depend on whether there were any amendment violations while you were being detained. Another factor to consider is whether you were unaware you were breaking the law, therefore lacking the intent to break the law.
Smuggling Illegal Immigrants Defense Attorney in Florida
If you or a loved one has recently received a smuggling illegal immigrants charge in Central Florida, you must immediately speak with a top-rated Orlando criminal defense attorney. These are serious charges that bring harsh penalties, even for first-time offenders.
Here at The Umansky Law Firm, we bring demonstrated experience and success with our over 100 years of combined experience. Our team of legal professionals has experience as former Florida state prosecutors, so you can be sure your rights are in good hands. Call our office or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation.