Does the Law Prohibit Transporting Undocumented Immigrants?
We can all agree that helping someone who’s down on their luck isn’t a bad thing; unfortunately, the status of their citizenship could turn a good deed into illegal action. In fact, knowingly or recklessly disregarding the fact that someone is alien and then providing assistance in transporting them through the country is a federal crime.
Under Federal law, it is illegal for an individual to:
- Transport and move undocumented individuals within the U.S.
- Conceal, harbor or shield aliens from being detected by immigration officials
- Encourage or invite an undocumented individual to come into the country in violation of the law
The law is written in a way that bus or taxi drivers will not have to face prosecution since they may unknowingly pick up an undocumented individual on the job. However, if prosecutors can prove that you knowingly committed these actions with the knowledge that you were in violation of the law, you could be facing steep penalties. You will need to work with an experienced federal criminal defense attorney who can assist you in fighting alien harboring and smuggling charges.
IMPORTANT NOTE: There are very important constitutional considerations that may come into play with these offenses. If you are charged with an offense related to illegal aliens, or if you are charged with an offense because you are an illegal alien, it is very important that you have an attorney who understands these issues and can use them to fight for you.
What is the Penalty for Transporting an Illegal Alien?
If you are charged for knowingly helping an illegal alien, you will be accused of violating section 13-2929 of the Arizona Revised Statutes (Arizona state laws).
If you’re found guilty of, “transporting, moving, concealing, harboring, or shielding” an unlawful alien, you could face the following consequences:
- Fine of at least $1,000;
- A class 1 misdemeanor.
A guilty verdict for a class 1 misdemeanor could result in up to six months of imprisonment!
What is the Penalty for Transporting Ten or More Illegal Aliens?
If you are charged for knowingly helping ten or more illegal aliens, you could face enhanced charges and additional penalties.
If you're found guilty of, “transporting, moving, concealing, harboring, or shielding” ten or more unlawful aliens, you could face the following consequences:
- Fine of at least $1,000 for each alien involved;
- A class 6 felony.
A guilty verdict for a class 6 felony could result in up to a year of imprisonment!
Serious Charges Need Serious Representation
If you or a loved is charged with assisting an illegal alien(s), it’s crucial you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. At Suzuki Law Offices, our lawyers have extensive time served as criminal prosecutors in Arizona. With first-hand knowledge of the offense’s tactics, Suzuki Law Offices is prepared to fight for the best result possible for your case!
Call (602) 842-6762 now for a free consultation!