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Arizona Rules on Immigrant Smuggling Law

Immigrant smuggling is a federal offense that usually comes with serious consequences. If you or your loved one are facing charges of illegal immigrant smuggling, you need an excellent Criminal defense lawyer Phoenix with knowledge of the immigration laws of the U.S and experience in federal court to protect and defend your right.

Why You Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer

According to federal law of the U.S, it is a criminal offense to aid the illegal entry of a foreigner (alien) into the country. This can happen in various ways, such as: transporting the immigrants into the country or transporting them within different states in the country. Also, accommodating or concealing an immigrant without regard to the fact that they entered the U.S illegally, encouraging the immigrants to enter and live in the U.S, or hiring an illegal immigrant knowingly as an employee is considered a crime.
Typically, a large percent of the people who have been charged with this crime are “coyotes” hired by the immigrants to help them get through the border. Although not common, some people who give humanitarian aid to these illegal immigrants can also be charged with this crime.

What Are The Consequences of Smuggling

Depending on the circumstances surrounding the crime, there are different penalties involved in immigrant smuggling. The penalties may include fines, imprisonment, and deportation (in cases where the accused is not a citizen).

Imprisonment penalties

  • Bringing or attempting to bring an alien into the U.S. – 10 years in prison
  • Transporting or accommodating an illegal immigrant for commercial purposes – 10 years in prison
  • Transporting or accommodating an illegal immigrant without expecting profit – 5 years in prison
  • Immigrant smuggling that leads to the risk of death or bodily injury – 20 years in prison
  • Immigrant smuggling that leads to the death of a citizen – life imprisonment

The actual sentence can be below what is listed here, depending on several factors set in the sentencing guidelines. Common factors that affect the sentence include if the illegal immigrants were put at risk while smuggling them if the illegal immigrant was threatened before smuggling, the number of immigrants smuggled, smuggling a child unaccompanied by a guardian, prior conviction of the defendant for offenses of illegal immigrants smuggling, harboring an illegal immigrant for prostitution, possessing or discharging of firearms.
When an illegal immigrant is brought into the U.S for commercial gain (monetary gain), there is a mandatory minimum sentence of 3 years. However, such a mandatory sentence does not apply when an illegal immigrant is harbored or transported within the U.S, even when it is done for profit.
An immigrant who attempts to return or returns to the United States illegally after being deported is usually charged with cases of illegal reentry. The sentencing for illegal reentry depends largely on the criminal history of the defendant.

  • If the defendant was deported after being convicted for drug-related felonies or crimes against another person — 10 years
  • If the defendant was deported after being convicted for aggravated felonies — 20 years
  • If the defendant was deported following an early release from imprisonment — 10 years
  • If the defendant was deported for being involved in terrorist activities — 10 years
  • If none of the following applies– 2 years

Steps to Take After Being Arrested By The ICE

While you may be feeling scared or overwhelmed after being arrested, you need to stay calm to defend yourself better and know when your rights are being violated.

Ask For a lawyer

The first thing to do when you’re arrested is to ask for a lawyer. You are allowed the right to make a free private phone call to your lawyer without the officers listening in on your conversation. You can choose to remain silent throughout the process as you’re not obligated to answer their questions or make any explanations concerning your immigration status.
While you’re in custody, you may be visited by some immigration agents. Make sure not to sign any papers without speaking to a lawyer. Also, do not sign any paper if you don’t understand what it says, or you may be forfeiting your rights to an immigration hearing. Lastly, if you have difficulty in reading, you can ask for an interpreter.

Consult Your Consulate

If you get detained by the ICE as a non-citizen, it is within your rights to inform your consulate or ask an officer to inform them. When speaking to an official from your consulate, identify yourself and give them details of your detainment, including where you’re detained. They may be able to link you with an immigration lawyer.

Ask For an Immigration Bond

When a person is taken into immigration custody, the deportation officer determines if they are eligible for a bond and how much the bond costs. The bond would allow the detained persons to be released and return to their homes (within the U.S) while their removal proceeding is pending.
To determine if an immigrant is eligible for a bond, two things are considered—the risk of missing your immigration hearings and the danger of releasing you to the community. A previous record of conviction for a crime can also affect your eligibility for a bond. If you’re refused a bond by the deportation officer, it is within your right to ask the immigration judge to reconsider. Also, if the bond is beyond what you can pay, you can ask for the bond to be lowered.
The cost for a bond depends on the immigration judge and the circumstances surrounding the case. But usually, the cost is within the range of $1,500 to $25,000. Bond hearings are not the same as deportation proceedings. So, it would be best if you asked for a bond hearing as soon as your first immigration hearing.
In conclusion, you mustn’t hesitate to seek the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer when you’re facing a case of illegal immigrant smuggling, as it is a very serious federal offense. You can speak with a criminal defense lawyer on our website:

Lane, Hupp, & Crowley,
111 W Monroe St Ste. 1216 Phoenix AZ 85003,
(480) 562-3482

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If you have been charged with a DUI, drug charge, sex crime or any serious criminal offense, let an experienced defense team fight for you. Schedule a consultation with one of our partners today. Call (480) 562-3482 or send an email.