Illegal Reentry Defense Lawyers

When an immigrant who had been previously denied admission or deported from the United States returns to the country, they may be found guilty of illegal reentry. While the initial deportation would be resolved by an immigration court, illegal reentry cases are treated as federal crimes, so they are handled in the higher federal court system.

If you have already dealt with the U.S immigration court system, you may know just how difficult they are to navigate, and the federal criminal court system is even tougher. Hiring an immigration attorney will not be enough, you will need the help of an experienced federal criminal defense attorney. Our team has extensive experience working in these complicated immigration crime cases. With the help of our talented Spanish-speaking paralegal, they work well alongside immigration attorneys to protect their clients rights and freedom.

wired gates at the border, preventing illegal reentry

Differences Between Immigration and Federal Criminal Court

While criminal court may be more intimidating than immigration court, you are actually entitled to more rights that an experienced attorney can help you take advantage of. As the U.S criminal justice system relies on a presumption of innocence, the government carries the burden to prove any allegations against you.

First, because you are not only facing deportation but criminal punishments including fines and imprisonment, you can demand that the government proves allegations against you “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This means that with a talented attorney at your side, you can challenge any evidence the government presents by raising doubts about the evidence’s quality and validity. 

Additionally, in criminal proceedings you are entitled to demand a jury trial. This may not always be favorable, so you once again should have an attorney who can be honest with you and determine whether a jury would be sympathetic to your case and can be convinced that you are innocent.

Penalties for Illegal Reentry

The punishment imposed for illegal reentry mostly depends on the the reason  the defendant was previously deported or denied admission to the U.S.

In the case where the defendant was deported due to denied admission, the sentence imposed can be a fine, up to 2 years imprisonment, or both.

When the defendant was previously deported after serving a sentence for criminal convictions, the sentencing for illegal reentry is much harsher, as follows:

  • Fine and/or up to 10 years imprisonment:  For a conviction of 3 or more misdemeanors involving drugs, “crimes against the person”, non-aggravated felonies, or smuggling other aliens across the border.
  • 10 years imprisonment: For a conviction of inciting terrorism, whether due to being a member of a terrorist organization or endorsing terrorist groups and their actions.
  • Fine and up to 20 years imprisonment: For “aggravated” felonies, which include murder, rape, sexual abuse of a minor, drug trafficking, firearm and destructive device trafficking and some money laundering crimes.

As you would expect, after the convicted person serves their sentence, they will again be deported from the U.S and permanently barred from future admission. This means that to even apply for a visa to return to the U.S in the future, they will need special permissions with harsh restrictions.

Defending Against Illegal Reentry Charges

As the U.S federal courts have become more strict and less sympathetic towards those who are accused of immigrating here illegally, the need for a skilled attorney at your side is crucial. Even if you are not a U.S citizen, you are still entitled to the same rights and protections in the criminal court system. Many immigrants get caught up in the system and endure far more hardship because they did not know what they were entitled to and did not have knowledgeable legal counsel at their side.

At Polk Law we tailor our defense strategy to account for every detail of the case. We have the experience of both working with prosecutors to get charges dismissed pretrial, or fighting in trial to reduce or drop charges against our clients.

If you are facing an investigation or have been charged with illegal reentry or any other immigration crime, give our dedicated team a call or leave us a consultation request.

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