Understanding Federal Smuggling Crimes

In Texas, the issue of illegal or undocumented immigration is nothing new. The way that many of these people get over the border, however, is constantly evolving. Today, many people are being solicited online to help bring people over the border or harbor them once they enter the state. This can be done by enticing those who want to help out of a sense of compassion, or through manipulation, or by offering financial compensation. Regardless of the motivation, however, smuggling people (or things) across the boarder is a violation of federal law and can come with very harsh punishments. Understanding federal smuggling crimes will help you to better understand how these laws work and what impact they may have on you or your loved ones.

What is Prohibited Under Federal Smuggling Laws?

When most people think about smuggling, they immediately think about hiding drugs or other contraband in their vehicle when driving over the border. While that will certainly be a form of smuggling, it is far from the only one. The following are also prohibited under these federal laws:

  • Conspiring to Smuggle – Planning or helping someone plan how to smuggle contraband or undocumented aliens is prohibited under federal law.
  • Transporting Illegal Aliens – If you transport an illegal alien over the border, it is a form of smuggling. Even if you didn’t know they were undocumented, you can be held responsible.
  • Harboring Illegal Aliens – If you let an undocumented immigrant stay in your home or on your property, you can be charged with harboring them, which is categorized as a smuggling crime.
  • Encouraging Illegal Immigration – If you are found to be encouraging illegal immigration, you can be held responsible under law.

To put it simply, just about any action that you take that can be shown to help facilitate the unauthorized transportation of contraband or people into the United States can be considered illegal under federal smuggling laws.

Punishments for Smuggling Crimes

The penalties associated with violating federal smuggling laws can be very severe. In most cases, the severity of the punishment will depend on the level of involvement you have. For transporting illegal aliens over the border, for example, you can receive up to 10 years in federal prison for each person you transport. Lesser violations can involve anything from financial penalties to prison time.

Take Smuggling Charges Seriously

If you or a loved one has been charged with any type of smuggling, you need to take your situation very seriously. Having an experienced attorney at your side will help you to protect your rights throughout this difficult process. Contact the Law Offices of Charles A. Banker to discuss your situation and get the experienced representation you need.

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The Law Offices of Charles A. Banker, III

Our firm’s founder, Charles A. Banker III, has been a solo criminal defense practitioner with offices in Houston and McAllen, TX for over 30 years. He understands what it means to work independently in today’s hyperconnected world, but he also knows that sometimes you need to lean on others.

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