Federal Criminal Charge For Illegal Re-entry On The Rise
According to the United States Sentencing Commission, there were 80,035 cases of illegal re-entry reported to the commission in 2013. Over 98% of those charged with the federal criminal charge of illegal re-entry were sentence to prison. Of those, the average sentence was 18 months.
18 U.S.C. § 1326 established a federal criminal charge for illegal re-entry in to the United States for persons who have been denied admission, excluded, deported, or removed from the United States, or those who have departed the United States while an order of exclusion, deportation, or removal is outstanding. It is also a federal criminal charge to attempt to re-enter.
SIMPLE ILLEGAL RE-ENTRY
18 U.S.C. § 1326 provides punishment for illegal re-entry or attempted illegal re-entry. At the lowest level there could be significant fines and a prison sentence of up to 2 years.
ILLEGAL RE-ENTRY AFTER CRIMINAL CONVICTION
For certain persons, there are enhanced criminal penalties. A person whose removal was subsequent to a conviction for commission of three or more misdemeanors involving drugs, crimes against the person, or both, or a felony (other than an aggravated felony), can be substantially fined and imprisoned for up to 10 years.
ILLEGAL RE-ENTRY AFTER PRIOR CONVICTION OF AGGRAVATED FELONY
A person who has been convicted of an aggravated felony can receive a fine and up to 20 years in prison.
“FAST TRACK” EARLY DISPOSITION PROGRAMS
The United States Department of Justice has “Fast-Track” Early Disposition Programs under which the defendant may receive significant reductions in sentence length based upon certain circumstances. The factors considered include the following:
- The defendant’s prior violent felony convictions (including murder, kidnapping, voluntary manslaughter, forcible sex offenses, child-sex offenses, drug trafficking, firearms offenses, or convictions which otherwise reflect a history of serious violent crime)
- The defendant’s number of prior deportations, prior convictions for illegal reentry under 8 U.S.C. § 1326, prior convictions for other immigration-related offenses, or prior participation in a fast-track program
- If the defendant is part of an independent federal criminal investigation, or if he or she is under any form of court or correctional supervision
- With supervisory approval, circumstances at the time of the defendant’s arrest or any other aggravating factors identified by the United States Attorney.
An experienced federal criminal defense attorney can assist you in determining if you qualify for a “fast track” program and a reduction in your sentence. The process of determining eligibility is complex, so the advice of a qualified criminal defense attorney is essential.