What Do I Do If Charged With Illegal Reentry?

illegal reentry

We know that there are many reasons that people enter the United States and remain here in violation of immigration laws. We also know that families want to stay together in the United States because they feel safe, and there are many promising education and job opportunities here.

Unfortunately, being in the United States without permission is illegal, and reentering the country without permission after deportation is a serious crime that comes with severe consequences. Our immigration charges attorneys at Vinas & Graham, PLLC, are compassionate, knowledgeable, and aggressive. They can help you and your family with immigration-related charges such as illegal reentry and immigration fraud.

Reasons For Initial Deportation

Non-citizens may find themselves facing deportation from the United States for many reasons. Some of the most common reasons for deportation include the following:

  • Being present in the United States without permission
  • Illegally voting in elections
  • Committing certain types of crimes
  • Working in the United States without a valid employment authorization document
  • Termination of conditional permanent resident status
  • Visa or green card violations
  • Failing to advise authorities of address changes
  • Providing false information related to citizenship status
  • Immigration fraud including marriage fraud

Illegal Reentry Charges And Convictions

As previously mentioned, illegal reentry convictions have severe consequences, including monetary fines and prison sentences of up to 20 years, depending on the facts and circumstances related to your case. If you have no significant criminal history prior to your illegal reentry charges, you may end up with not more than two years in prison if convicted.

Sentences are typically longer for defendants who have a prior criminal history. If your criminal history involves three or more misdemeanor convictions related to drugs or crimes against a person, you may be looking at up to ten years in prison.

If you have a prior aggravated felony conviction, you are subject to the most severe punishment and penalties under immigration law. You could be facing up to 20 years in prison for an illegal reentry conviction. With limited exceptions, you will also generally be barred from any type of relief or waiver to stop deportation proceedings.

What You Should Do Now

  1. If you are not currently in the United States, do not return until you have spoken with an immigration expert to discuss your legal reentry options. In most cases, returning to the United States without permission is not worth the risk of an illegal reentry conviction. In addition to a lengthy prison sentence, you may also be barred from ever being eligible for legal entry to the U.S. again.
  2. Contact a criminal defense attorney who also knows immigration law and has experience in defending illegal reentry cases. Immigration law is unique, and only an attorney who handles criminal immigration matters should be trusted with your defense.
  3. Gather all of your criminal and immigration-related documents and records. Your attorney will use these to investigate your case and prepare your defense.
  4. If you are offered a plea agreement, go over the agreement with your attorney before you sign anything. An immigration charges attorney will make sure that you fully understand the terms of the offer. You must understand the consequences of agreeing to plead guilty and the potential consequences of turning down a plea agreement offer before you make any decisions.

Illegal Reentry Defenses

There are defenses to illegal reentry charges that may help your case. For example, if you were not previously deported and you left the country voluntarily, illegal reentry charges may not be appropriate. If your due process rights were violated at any point, your charges might be dismissed. If the initial deportation order was not lawful, you may challenge the initial order and seek dismissal of the reentry charges.

As mentioned above, your attorney will review your case, including all criminal and immigration-related documents and records. There are many moving parts in immigration charges cases, and a thorough investigation by your attorney may turn up evidence that helps in your defense.

Illegal Reentry Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one has been charged with illegal reentry or another offense, a criminal defense attorney at Vinas & Graham, PLLC, can help. Contact our office at 713-229-9992 or submit an online form, and someone from our office will contact you. Charges that threaten your freedom and your right to live in the United States are too important to be handled by an inexperienced and unqualified attorney.

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