Texas authorities are cracking down on allegations of smuggling and human trafficking. In January alone, officials arrested more than fifty individuals in connection with these types of criminal charges. Although we can likely agree on the need to ensure the welfare of our neighbors, aggressive efforts to make arrests can come with unintended consequences — like false allegations of wrongdoing.
A false allegation of wrongdoing of this type can come with catastrophic consequences. In addition to the possibility of criminal penalties which can include hefty financial penalties and potential imprisonment, the accusations also come with serious social repercussions. The stigma that can come with the allegations can have an impact on the individual’s professional and personal life.
How do these cases start?
Human trafficking accusations can include charges related to smuggling undocumented immigrants or trafficking individuals for labor or sexual exploitation and the allegations often begin when authorities receive an anonymous tip. This could come from a well-meaning member of society or an acquaintance with ill intent. Officials must weed through this information and determine whether the tip warrants attention or not; arguably a big task for an already overworked department.
What should I do if I am arrested?
If police arrest you for smuggling or human trafficking, the first step is to remain calm. You have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. In cases this serious, it is generally wise to exercise both rights. It is also best to refrain from social media posts and avoid making public statements about the case without consulting your attorney. Public perception can be a powerful force, and it is important to manage it carefully.
It is also a good idea to keep organized records related to the case. Gather copies of any evidence that can support your innocence, such as emails, text messages, financial records, and witness statements. Maintain a log of all interactions with law enforcement and legal proceedings. This log should include dates, times, the names of the individuals involved, and a brief description of the interaction.
Is there anything else I should know?
If you find yourself in this situation, it is crucial to understand your rights and the best course of action to take. An attorney experienced in this niche area of criminal defense can help you to fully understand the charges against you. Human trafficking laws are complex, and it is crucial to know the specifics of the accusations, including the potential penalties if convicted.
It is important to tailor defenses to your specific case. Depending on the circumstances, strategies can include the use of expert witnesses, private investigators, and forensic analysis to refute the charges.