A smuggling of persons charge occurs when there is an intent to obtain a financial benefit, by knowingly:
- Transporting a smuggled individual to conceal them from police.
- Transporting a smuggled individual to flee from a police officer or special investigator who is attempting to lawfully arrest them.
- Encouraging or inducing an individual to either enter into or remain in the country in violation of immigration law. The violation is done by harboring, concealing, or shielding the individual from police or detection.
What Is Continuous Smuggling of Persons in Texas?
Continuous smuggling of persons is defined as holding a smuggled individual for 10 days or more. During this period of time, the person must engage in the criminal acts listed in smuggling individuals charge at least two times. For example, a person who conceals an individual from police while crossing the country’s border and encourages them to stay in the country by shielding them from detection for a month would be charged with this crime.
What Is the Punishment for Continuous Smuggling of Individuals in Texas?
It depends on whether the charge is a first degree felony or a second degree felony. The conviction is a second degree felony punishable by:
- Two to 20 years in state prison
- $10,000 fine
- Both a fine and time in prison
As a first degree felony, the punishment is:
- Five to 99 years in state prison
- $10,000 fine
- Both prison time and a fine
Is There a Minimum Prison Time with a Continuous Smuggling of Persons Sentence?
Typically, the answer is no. The exceptions are when the smuggled individual suffered serious bodily harm or death, or the smuggled individual was a victim of sexual assault. A person who is found guilty of that will be sentenced to at least a minimum of 25 years.
Can a Lawyer Help Me with My Case?
As with any felony, a continuous smuggling of persons charge is difficult to fight against unless you have the assistance of a lawyer. Immediately talk to a Texas criminal attorney regarding a continuous smuggling persons charge. Your attorney will work to get the charge resolved.