One of the most frequently prosecuted immigration crimes is illegal reentry into the United States. Illegal reentry is charged when a non-citizen has been deported or removed from the US and returns without government permission or authorization.
Illegal reentry is a serious crime. If you are facing these immigration charges in Texas, your freedom may be in jeopardy. A federal immigration defense attorney at Vinas & Graham, PLLC, can answer your legal questions and help defend the allegations against you.
What Is Illegal Reentry?
Non-citizens can be removed from the United States for various reasons, such as committing crimes, failing to comply with VISA terms, and violating immigration laws. You may be charged with illegal reentry if you return after being legally forced to leave the country.
To prove illegal reentry, the government must demonstrate that the non-citizen defendant knowingly entered, attempted to enter, or was discovered in the United States without government authorization after being deported, excluded, or removed from the country.
Consequences Of A Conviction
In general, consequences for illegal reentry convictions are directly related to the defendant’s criminal history. Defendants with no record or a light criminal history will typically face less severe prison sentences than those with multiple convictions for serious crimes.
The maximum prison sentence for an illegal reentry conviction is two years if you do not have any criminal convictions. If you have a felony conviction or three or more violence or drug convictions, you might be facing up to ten years in prison.
The maximum illegal reentry prison sentence is 20 years if you have an aggravated felony conviction on your record. More than 30 offenses qualify as aggravated felonies for immigration violation purposes, including drug trafficking, murder, and firearms trafficking.
Negotiating With Prosecutors
If you are facing immigration charges, it is critical to have an attorney who knows immigration laws and has experience defending clients in these types of cases. Government immigration representatives frequently make errors in the legal process and fail to follow proper procedures.
It is critical to carefully review all aspects of your case, including your initial deportation or removal. For example, presenting evidence that your previous removal was unlawful is a valid defense against illegal reentry charges. If you can show flaws in the initial legal process, your reentry charges may be dismissed.
Prosecutors will often choose to negotiate plea bargains when defendants have strong and well-prepared defenses. Prosecutors will sometimes dismiss your charges or agree to let you plead guilty to a lesser charge with less severe consequences.
Common Illegal Reentry Defenses
Some common defenses in illegal reentry cases include the following:
- No prior removal. If you were not previously removed or deported from the United States, there is no basis for illegal reentry charges. This is often the result of mistaken identity due to government errors in name spelling, birth dates, or immigration registration numbers.
- No immigration violation. You can defend illegal reentry charges if you can prove that you received permission from the government to reapply for admission to the United States.
- Your previous removal was unlawful. As mentioned above, you may have a defense to the charges against you if there were flaws in the legal proceedings or the removal was otherwise unlawful.
- Voluntary departure. In most cases, if you voluntarily departed the country before entering or reentering, then you should not have a prior deportation on your record. Proving an error in your record could lead to a dismissal of your illegal reentry charges.
- Duress. Duress could be used as a defense if you were forced by another person to enter the country. Duress is not uncommon in border crossing events because there are regular threats of harm in border cities, often having to do with human smuggling and trafficking.
Get Dedicated Defense Representation For Illegal Reentry Charges
If you have been charged with illegal reentry, you need a dedicated and experienced legal representative to defend your case. Contact Vinas & Graham, PLLC, at 713-992-9992 or submit a form to schedule a consultation. We are dedicated to representing clients who have been accused of criminal conduct.
Our attorneys have an unmatched reputation for zealous legal advocacy and a strong record of success in illegal reentry and other immigration defense matters. We know that our clients entrust their future and freedom to our law firm, and we work diligently and tirelessly for every client we represent.
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