West Palm Beach Alien Smuggling Lawyer
Ohle Law P.A. – Federal criminal attorneys representing Palm Beach County
Immigration has recently become a central point of focus for the federal government. The increasingly intense scrutiny immigrants face has made the risks even higher for those who engage in illegal practices like alien smuggling. Federal agencies are now aggressively seeking out people who are not legal residents or citizens; therefore, those who engage in activities that help unauthorized residents are much more likely to be subjected to prosecution than in years past. Anyone who is accused of alien smuggling in West Palm Beach should not delay in calling an experienced Florida alien smuggling defense lawyer.
What is alien smuggling?
Federal law refers to any person who is not a citizen of the U.S. as an alien. People who have obtained an immigration status that allows them to permanently reside in the United States as known as resident aliens. A person or group that helps another person who is neither a citizen, nor a resident alien enter the U.S. illegally may be accused of alien smuggling. There are three actions that may constitute alien smuggling under federal law:
- transporting a non-citizen to the United States through any location other than an official point of entry
- transporting people who are not legally residing or visiting the United States within the U.S.
- attempting to illegally bring a non-citizen into the U.S. illegally.
The federal laws that prohibit alien smuggling are comprehensive. Nevertheless, a person may not be convicted of alien smuggling unless the prosecutor is able to establish the accused knew of the person’s immigration status or acted with reckless disregard. For those who have suddenly found themselves facing federal charges for alien smuggling, a Florida alien smuggling defense lawyer can offer trustworthy advice and help the accused party put together a strong case for his or her defense.
Examples of alien smuggling
There are multiple steps in the process of bringing someone into the United States illegally. Generally, people who play a role at any point in the process may be charged and convicted of alien smuggling. A van service operator who drives a van load of people to a less secure entry point along the border may be accused of alien smuggling. The van operator is more likely to be convicted if he or she knows the people were using the service with the intent to cross into the United States undetected. People who transport unauthorized residents from one safe house to another hiding place may also be charged with alien smuggling. A individual who allows people to hide in a large truck and drives from an illegal point of entry into the United States may be found guilty of alien smuggling. Because the law requires knowledge that a crime is in progress or reckless disregard, a person who drives a large truck for a living and is able to establish that he or she was unaware that there were people hiding in the cargo area would likely be acquitted. However, a person who operates a van service that regularly transports people and their large amounts of belongings to an unsecured border and watches the people quickly scatter upon arrival would likely be found to have had reckless disregard for whether the van was transporting people who were attempting to immigrate illegally.
Related criminal acts
There are several prohibited acts that are very closely related to the process of smuggling aliens. People who are caught participating in these acts may also be charged in federal court. It is prohibited to encourage or induce illegal immigration. Individuals and groups that organize trips for those who wish to immigrate illegally may face federal charges. Harboring people who are not legally permitted to live in the U.S. is also illegal. Knowingly employing people who are not authorized to live and work in the United States also violates federal law if 10 or more people are hired within a one-year period.
Alien smuggling legal counsel in West Palm Beach
There are multiple potential instances in which someone may be investigated for alien smuggling despite having been completely unaware that a crime was in progress. People who informally employ workers for small jobs may do so without knowing the people on the job are not authorized to live and work in the United States. A person may own a property that is being used to shelter unauthorized aliens without the homeowner’s knowledge. No matter the circumstance, a Florida alien smuggling defense lawyer can help people who are in similar situations understand the legal implications of the investigation or federal charge the person may be facing. Moreover, a seasoned lawyer can help the person navigate conversations with federal agents and gather the strongest evidence to support the defendant’s case in court.
Contact a lawyer today
When facing a federal charge, it is always best to contact a lawyer sooner rather than later. The longer a person foregoes legal counsel, the more likely it is the individual’s constitutional rights may be overstepped, or the person may accidentally make statements the government may interpret to be incriminating. The federal government has dialed up its aggression in finding, targeting, and detaining people immigration agents deem to even appear to be residing in the United States illegally. Therefore, people who are believed to be associated with alien smuggling activities are at an increased risk of being arrested, charged, and convicted of a federal crime. The stakes are much to high to forego having a seasoned, equally aggressive legal advocate who will fight for the rights of the accused.