How Can a Border Crimes Defense Attorney Help?
Do I need a Border Crimes Defense Attorney, or will a general practice lawyer be sufficient? The right lawyer can make all the difference when building a robust defense.
What are Border Crimes?
Border crimes refer to illegal activities that occur near or at international borders, ports of entry, or entry into the United States by air, land, or sea. These crimes include human trafficking, smuggling of drugs, firearms, or other illicit goods, illegal immigration, and money laundering. The term “border crimes” is often used to describe a criminal activity that takes advantage of the fluidity and lack of surveillance at international borders and an individual’s opportunity to profit from these illegal activities. It is important to note that while this article is focused on international borders, some federal crimes related to illegal activities also involve crossing state borders.
The experienced attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., will work to protect their client’s rights and interests throughout the legal process, from the initial arrest and questioning to trial and sentencing. If appropriate, these experienced attorneys may also be able to negotiate plea agreements or seek to have charges reduced or dismissed entirely.
What does a Border Crimes Defense Attorney do?
A border crimes defense attorney is a lawyer who specializes in representing clients charged with crimes that occur near or at international borders. The role of a border crimes defense attorney is to defend their clients against these charges and protect their rights throughout the criminal justice process.
A border crimes defense attorney will often work to gather evidence, interview witnesses, and build a strong defense on behalf of their client. They may also negotiate with prosecutors to reduce charges or secure a favorable plea bargain. In some cases, a border crimes defense attorney may have no alternative but to argue their client’s case before a judge and jury.
The goal of a border crimes defense attorney is to obtain the best possible outcome for their client, whether it be a reduction in charges, a more lenient sentence, or a complete acquittal. To achieve this, the attorney you choose must have a strong understanding of criminal law and a comprehensive understanding of the unique challenges and complexities involved in border crime cases.
The following is a list of some of the border crimes that can occur near or at international borders, including:
- Smuggling: This involves the illegal transportation of goods, such as drugs, firearms, persons, or other contraband, across international borders.
- Human trafficking: The exploitation of people for forced labor or sexual purposes. It often involves bringing individuals across international borders and subjecting them to abusive or inhumane conditions.
- Illegal immigration: The unauthorized crossing of individuals into a foreign country. It may involve individuals who enter a country without proper documentation or those who stay beyond their visa expiration.
- Money laundering: Disguising the proceeds received from illegal activities as legitimate funds. It often involves moving money across international borders to evade detection by law enforcement.
- Arms trafficking: The illegal movement or trade of firearms and other weapons across international borders.
- Wildlife trafficking: The illegal trade in protected wildlife species, including animals, plants, or any of their parts.
- Intellectual property theft: This involves the illegal theft of patents, trademarks, copyrights, or trade secrets across international borders.
- Terrorist financing: This involves the use of financial instruments to fund terrorist activities. It may include the movement of funds across international borders.
These are some of the most common border crimes, but the list is not exhaustive. The nature and scope of border crimes can vary greatly, depending on the circumstances of each case. It is important to note that individuals convicted of a border crime may face severe criminal penalties, including imprisonment, years of court supervision, and substantial fines.
What is Federal Smuggling?
Federal smuggling is illegally importing or exporting goods or persons across international borders in violation of federal laws and regulations. Smuggling can include drugs, firearms, money, or other contraband. One can also be charged with smuggling if they assist others in entering a country illegally, often in exchange for money. Federal smuggling is a crime investigated by federal law enforcement agencies, such as U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) or the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Smuggling cases are often complex and can involve multiple individuals and various methods of transportation and concealment. If the government accuses someone of federal smuggling, they may face severe direct and indirect criminal penalties. To prosecute a case of federal smuggling, the government must prove that the defendant knew that their actions were illegal and that they intended to smuggle goods across international borders. A person might be charged with federal smuggling even if they did not physically transport the goods themselves, if they aided or abetted the smuggling in some way.
If you are facing federal smuggling charges, it is crucial to seek the advice of a criminal defense attorney specializing in federal crimes and experienced in handling complex smuggling cases. An attorney can help you understand the charges against you and work to develop a strong defense strategy to protect your rights and interests.
What is Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking is a serious crime that involves the exploitation of people through force, coercion, threat, and deception and includes human rights abuses such as debt bondage, deprivation of liberty, and lack of control over freedom and labor. Human trafficking can be for purposes of commercial sexual exploitation or labor exploitation.
Human trafficking often involves the recruitment, transportation, harboring, or receipt of individuals utilizing force, fraud, or coercion. Traffickers use a variety of tactics to control and exploit their victims, including physical and psychological abuse, debt bondage, and threats of violence to themselves or their loved ones.
Victims of human trafficking come from a variety of backgrounds and can be men, women, or children. They may be recruited from their home countries or within the country where they were victimized. Human trafficking can occur within a country across state borders or across international borders. The United States Attorney’s Office has publicly stated that human trafficking is a prosecution priority. Anyone facing human trafficking allegations needs top-level legal representation immediately.
What are Illegal Immigration Crimes?
Illegal immigration crimes are actions taken by individuals that violate immigration laws and regulations. Some examples of immigration crimes include:
- Entering the country without inspection or authorization: This refers to individuals who cross into the United States without entering through the designated ports of entry or without obtaining a visa or other required legal documentation.
- Overstaying a visa: This refers to individuals who remain in the United States beyond the time allowed by their visa.
- Making false statements on immigration forms or in an interview: This refers to individuals who provide incorrect information on immigration forms or during an immigration interview to gain entry into the United States or to obtain a federal benefit, such as healthcare, unemployment benefits, or food assistance.
- Illegal re-entry: This refers to individuals who were previously deported from the United States and returned without proper legal authorization.
- Employing illegal aliens: Hiring individuals to work in the United States who do not have the proper work authorization documents.
What is Money Laundering?
Money laundering is a financial crime that involves the process of disguising the proceeds of illegal activities as legitimate funds. The goal of money laundering is to conceal the funds’ illegal source and make them appear to have come from a lawful source. When money laundering relates to proceeds from border crimes, the federal government has jurisdiction over the prosecution.
Money laundering, a white-collar crime, typically involves several stages, including placement, layering, and integration. Someone introduces illegal proceeds into the financial system in the placement stage. In the layering stage, the funds are moved through various transactions to obscure the trail and create distance from the initial illicit source of the funds. In the integration stage, the accused reintegrates the laundered funds into the legitimate financial system, often in the form of investments or the purchases of assets.
The United States Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Michigan focuses on money laundering to prevent those engaged in illegal activities from benefiting from the proceeds of their activities. It also undermines the stability and integrity of the financial system. Money laundering can involve various unlawful activities, including drug trafficking, fraud, corruption, and terrorism financing. Law enforcement agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) work to investigate and prosecute money laundering cases.
What is Federal Arms Trafficking?
Federal arms trafficking is the illegal trade or transfer of firearms across state or national borders. This type of trafficking is a federal crime in the United States, and prosecution and punishment is controlled under the provisions of the Gun Control Act of 1968. Federal arms trafficking may also involve the sale or transfer of firearms to individuals prohibited by law from owning firearms, such as convicted felons or persons with a history of mental illness. In such border crime cases, those involved in the trafficking could face charges of both arms trafficking and illegal firearms sales.
What is Federal Wildlife Trafficking?
Federal wildlife trafficking is the illegal trade or sale of protected or endangered species or their parts or products. This type of trafficking violates federal laws in the United States, such as the Endangered Species Act and the Lacey Act. This border crime is often carried out for profit derived from the sale of the animal or its parts that can be used for a variety of purposes, including use in traditional medicine or to be illegally kept as exotic pets.
Federal wildlife trafficking may involve the sale or trade of animals such as elephants, rhinoceroses, tigers, and pangolins, as well as their parts, such as ivory, rhino horn, and tiger bones. It can also involve smuggling live animals or animal products across international borders. Those engaged in federal wildlife trafficking can face criminal charges and penalties, including fines and imprisonment.
What is Intellectual Property Theft?
Intellectual property (IP) theft refers to the unauthorized use or theft of someone else’s intellectual property, such as patents, copyrights, trademarks, or trade secrets. IP theft can include copying, distributing, or selling someone else’s work without permission or using someone else’s ideas or innovations without giving them credit.
Examples of intellectual property theft include pirating movies or music, selling counterfeit products that infringe on another’s trademark or copyright, or stealing trade secrets from a competitor to gain an unfair advantage. IP theft can also occur through cyber-attacks, such as hacking into computer systems to steal confidential information.
Intellectual property theft is a serious crime that can have significant and long-term financial consequences for the victims. Laws and regulations, including border crime criminal statutes, protect intellectual property rights in many countries, including the United States.
What is Terrorist Financing?
Terrorist financing is the act of providing financial support to terrorist organizations or individuals to help fund their operations or activities. Financing terrorism can include providing money, goods, or services, as well as other forms of support, such as facilitating financial transactions or laundering money to make it difficult to trace.
According to the United States Attorney’s office, terrorist financing enables nefarious groups the financial resources they need to carry out their activities, such as planning and executing attacks, recruiting new members, and propagating their ideology. It can also fund other illicit activities, such as drug trafficking or arms smuggling.
Governments and international organizations have developed various measures to combat terrorist financing. There are federal laws and regulations that criminalize providing financial support to terrorist groups and allow the Government to freeze assets and prevent money laundering. Someone facing border crime charges related to terrorism desperately needs a credible, respected defense lawyer to protect their rights.
LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. – Federal Border Crimes Defense Attorneys
Federal border crimes defense attorneys are lawyers specializing in defending clients against federal criminal charges related to crossing international or state borders in violation of federal law. These crimes may include drug trafficking, smuggling, human trafficking, and illegal immigration, among others.
Federal border crime defense attorneys are well-versed in the complex federal laws and regulations related to these offenses and the procedures and protocols involved in investigating, prosecuting, and defending such crimes. The federal border crime defense attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. might represent clients in various settings, including federal court, immigration court, and administrative hearings. They can work with experts and investigators to gather evidence and build a strong defense, and if appropriate, challenge the government’s evidence or the legality of the investigation or arrest.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.