Entering the United States without government approval after certain conditions is considered illegal reentry, and it is is one of the most common charges brought by federal prosecutors year after year. This federal felony offense is viewed as much more severe than illegal entry, which is a federal petty misdemeanor.
Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, a person may be charged with illegal reentry if an alien reenters the U.S. or is found within the U.S. without government approval after:
- Being denied admission to the U.S.
- Being excluded from the U.S.
- Being deported from the U.S.
- Being removed from the U.S.
- Having departed the U.S. while an order of exclusion, deportation, or removal was outstanding.
If you are being investigated for illegal reentry or you know someone who has, it is very important to speak with an experienced Pittsburgh federal defense attorney who can help you. While many prosecutions for illegal reentry are investigated by Border Patrol and other federal law enforcement agencies, and the evidence is usually quite involved, a federal defense lawyer can help you in many ways.
If you are legally allowed to reenter the U.S., a defense attorney can ensure that the proper documentation is provided to federal prosecutors to protect your innocence. If you are not legally allowed to reenter the U.S., an experienced lawyer can help you avoid the worst penalties you face.
Penalties for Illegal Reentry
If you have are convicted of illegal reentry, you will be fined under title 18 of the U.S. Code, sentenced to federal prison for up to two years, or both. You face removal (after serving prison time, if sentenced), a federal felony conviction, and a permanent ban on readmission to the U.S.
The penalties increase depending on why you were deported in the first place:
- For the conviction of three or more misdemeanors involving drugs, crimes against the person, or both or a felony, you will be fined under title 18 of the U.S. Code, sentenced to prison for up to 10 years, or both.
- For the conviction of an aggravated felony, you will be fined under title 18 of the U.S. Code, sentenced to prison for up to 20 years, or both.
There are other instances that make you ineligible for reentry under section 1182(a)(3)(B) and 1231(a)(4)(B) of the U.S. Code. If you or someone you know is facing illegal reentry charges due to a clause in these sections, hiring a Pittsburgh federal defense attorney will be key to understanding the exact charges and penalties you face.
Given the seriousness of the penalties you face and impact on your future, please do not delay in contacting us.