What Is the Punishment for Bringing People Across the Border?

'Welcome to Texas' sign at the border.

What is the punishment for bringing people across the border? Unfortunately human smuggling, also known as alien smuggling under federal law, is a big problem here in Texas. And while people may believe that they’re just being helpful, bringing an illegal immigrant (alien) across the border could land them in hot water — and we mean hot water.

Alien smuggling is a serious crime that is prosecuted aggressively by both state and federal courts and can result in excessive fines and prison time. 

If you or a loved one are facing human smuggling charges in Texas, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney in Laredo, TX. You need Javier Guzman. Javier has experience taking cases to trial, arguing in both state and federal courts, and winning. At the end of the day, a “Not Guilty” verdict is the only thing that will save you from hefty fines and a lengthy jail sentence, so be smart about who you hire to represent you. You only get one shot.

What is considered alien smuggling?

The federal law governing alien smuggling is found in 8 U.S. Code § 1324, and the charge in Texas, as outlined by TexasPenal Code § 20.05, is called “smuggling of persons.” 

A person commits a “smuggling of persons” offense if they “use a motor vehicle, aircraft, watercraft, or other means of conveyance to transport an individual with the intent to:

  • conceal the individual from a peace officer or special investigator; or
  • flee from a person the actor knows is a peace officer or special investigator attempting to lawfully arrest or detain the actor;
  • encourage or induce a person to enter or remain in this country in violation of federal law by concealing, harboring, or shielding that person from detection; or
  • assist, guide, or direct two or more individuals to enter or remain on agricultural land without the effective consent of the owner.”

To put it plainly, if you bring an individual or group of individuals across the border that are not legally allowed to be in the United States, you could be charged with human or alien smuggling. These individuals could be non-citizens who do not have visas or permanent residency documentation, making them illegal immigrants — and your actions a crime.

What happens if you get caught human smuggling?

The state of Texas is incredibly tough on immigration laws, meaning whether you intentionally or unknowingly brought an illegal alien across the border, you can still face charges if you are caught. And the consequences of being caught can be life-altering.

Is human smuggling a felony in Texas? 

Alien smuggling is a felony offense in both state and federal courts, that carries serious consequences regardless of whether it’s your first offense. If it is also proven that you were knowingly harboring illegal immigrants — sheltering or shielding them — you can be slapped with another federal charge.

While your intention and your awareness of the situation could be your biggest line of defense, you may still face conviction regardless of what you say you knew. Hiring the best human smuggling lawyer you can is the key to not being convicted, and therefore the key to your freedom.

What is the penalty for smuggling illegal immigrants in Texas?

What is the minimum punishment for smuggling of persons? Even if your offense is for first-time alien smuggling in Texas, the penalties are severe across the board.

The penalties for alien smuggling in Texas are as follows:

ChargeMaximum fineMaximum jail sentence
Smuggling not for profit (Third-degree felony)$250,000Up to 5 years
Smuggling for profit (Second-degree felony)$250,000Up to 10 years
Smuggling involving serious bodily injury (Second-degree felony)$250,000Up to 20 years
Smuggling involving death (First-degree felony)$250,000Life in prison

Note that some allowances may be granted to you if the person or persons you smuggled across the border were immediate family or blood relatives, but don’t think that will get you out of this situation. The best way to ensure that you don’t have to face these harsh penalties is to hire the best defense lawyer you can find and fast.

Charged with alien smuggling in Texas? Have Javier Guzman fight for your freedom.

What is the punishment for bringing people across the border? Hefty fines, lengthy jail sentences, and the loss of your personal freedoms. These charges are prosecuted aggressively in both federal and state courts, and receiving a “Not Guilty” verdict may be the only way to walk away with your freedom.

If you are charged with bringing illegal aliens across the border into the state of Texas, you need to call Javier Guzman right away to start building your defense. He is a relentless state and federal lawyer in Laredo, TX who fights tirelessly in court for his clients. When you have a case that you just can’t lose, trust Javier Guzman to fight for you. 

Whether you need a human smuggling lawyer or an immigration lawyer in Laredo, TX, call (956) 516-7198 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.

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