Understanding the Law Regarding Human Smuggling in Texas
Unlawful immigration is frequently discussed and hotly debated in the political discourse of politics in America. However, for the people living in the central and southern areas of Texas, illegal immigration is a genuine, everyday issue, considering the region's closeness to the border of the United States and Mexico. State officials in Texas and federal officials are frequently looking for anyone who entered the United States illegally. Every once in a while, a person living in the central or southern part of Texas may be accused of helping the unlawful entry of one or group of individuals into the U.S. and can face charges of human smuggling.
Smuggling someone into the United States is a grave crime that can bring with it hefty fines and jail time. If you have been accused of and charged with human smuggling, consider consulting with an experienced attorney with knowledge of and experience in human smuggling cases. Hiring an attorney can help ensure your rights are protected and that your best interests are always put first.
Texas Law Regarding Human Smuggling
Under Texas state law, human smuggling refers to the concealment or the harboring of someone who entered and stayed in the United States, thereby violating federal law. Notably, someone may find themselves charged with human smuggling if they transferred someone using a car, aircraft, or watercraft with the intention of hiding them from authorities. Additionally, someone may be charged with human smuggling if they helped someone evade an official trying to arrest or hold them. Finally, depending on the situation, in addition to the state's charge of human smuggling, a person could find themselves charged with alien smuggling, which is a federal crime.
At a minimum, human smuggling is a felony in the third-degree, carrying fines up to $10,000 and a prison term between two and 10 years. The charge may escalate to a felony of the second degree if the smuggled individual was younger than 18 years old or, during the process of being smuggled, was placed in a situation that heightened the chance of severe harm or death. If someone smuggles someone into the U.S. for money or if they had a firearm at the time the offense was committed, this also will escalate the charge to a second-degree felony. If found guilty of a second-degree, the prison sentence is between two and 20 years. Moreover, suppose a human smuggling case involves the smuggled individual being subjected to sexual assault or suffering a critical injury or death. In that case, the crime is heightened to a first-degree felony, where, if convicted, the accused may be sentenced to between five and 99 years in prison.
Difference Between Human Smuggling and Human Trafficking
It is not uncommon for someone to confuse human smuggling with human trafficking. However, the distinction between the two crimes is rather simple. When someone is smuggled, they willingly participate in being smuggled and concealed, whereas with human trafficking, the person being transported is forced or coerced to comply, and they may be subjected to prostitution or other forms of involuntary labor.
Contact a San Antonio Human Smuggling Attorney
Your freedom is on the line if you have found yourself charged with human smuggling. To protect your rights and work to avoid the penalties of getting convicted, it is wise for you to contact an experienced San Antonio human smuggling lawyers with Law Offices of Sam H. Lock. Call 210-226-0965 for a free and comprehensive consultation.