Human Smuggling Charges

If you are facing Human Trafficking charges, or otherwise referred to as human smuggling, hiring a skilled and experienced defense attorney can be the difference between a favorable outcome and a devastating one. Josh Kolsrud can help you understand your charges, build a strong defense, negotiate with the prosecution, and protect your rights in court.

❗During Josh’s 14 years as a state, international, and federal prosecutor, he has handled 3,528 cases and over 100 cases from accusations to verdict, with the vast majority dealing with border crimes including Human Smuggling.


Trial attorney Josh Kolsrud and his team will work tirelessly to defend your rights and protect your interests throughout the legal process.


We have a deep understanding of federal laws and can provide the expert guidance you need to build a strong defense and achieve the best possible outcome in your case.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you.

Human smuggling charges - illegally entering the US

What is Human Smuggling?

Human smuggling is a federal crime that prohibits individuals from knowingly harboring, transporting, or hiring unauthorized aliens.


This statute, 8 US Code 1324, is intended to target individuals who profit from or facilitate the illegal entry of aliens into the United States.


The law also makes it illegal to encourage or induce aliens to enter or reside in the United States illegally.

Examples of Human Smuggling

Human smuggling takes many forms, and it is a prevalent problem in the United States. Individuals who engage in human smuggling often do so for financial gain, and they are willing to put the lives of others at risk to achieve their objectives.


Here are some examples of human smuggling that violate 8 USC 1324:

  • 1

    A group of individuals operates a smuggling ring that transports undocumented aliens across the border from Mexico into the United States.

  • 2

    An individual agrees to transport an undocumented alien from one location to another within the United States.

  • 3

    An employer hires an undocumented alien to work for their business and provides the alien with housing.

  • 4

    An individual encourages an undocumented alien to enter the United States illegally and provides them with information on how to avoid detection by law enforcement.

  • 5

    An individual provides false documents or identification to an undocumented alien to assist them in obtaining employment or other benefits.

Potential penalties for human smuggling into the US.

Penalties for Human Smuggling Under 8 USC 1324:

A conviction under 8 USC 1324 can result in severe legal consequences. The penalties for violating this statute depend on the specific offense and the number of individuals involved.


Below are some of the consequences of a conviction under 8 USC 1324:

  • 1


    A violation of 8 USC 1324 can result in imprisonment for up to 10 years.

  • 2


    A conviction under this statute can result in fines of up to $250,000 for individuals and up to $500,000 for organizations.

  • 3


    The court can order the forfeiture of any property used to facilitate the violation of this statute, such as vehicles or money.

  • 4


    Non-citizens who are convicted of violating this statute can be subject to deportation.

  • 5

    Civil Penalties:

    Individuals and organizations can also be subject to civil penalties for violating this statute, including fines of up to $3,000 per unauthorized alien.

Common legal defenses for 8 USC 1324, Human Smuggling:

Why Choose Kolsrud Law Offices to Defend You
  • 1

    Lack of Knowledge:

    One of the primary defenses to a human smuggling charge is lack of knowledge. To be convicted under 8 USC 1324, the government must prove that you knew that the individuals you were transporting, harboring, or hiring were unauthorized aliens. If your attorney can demonstrate that you did not know or could not have reasonably known that the individuals were unauthorized, this can be a valid defense. For example, you may have been deceived by a third party into thinking that the individuals had proper documentation.

  • 2


    If you were forced to transport or harbor unauthorized aliens against your will, you may be able to use duress as a defense. Duress occurs when you are threatened with harm if you do not commit a crime. If your attorney can show that you were coerced or threatened with physical harm or other severe consequences, this may be a valid defense.

  • 3


    Entrapment is a defense that occurs when the government induces you to commit a crime that you would not have otherwise committed. If the government used deceitful or coercive tactics to persuade you to transport or harbor unauthorized aliens, this may be a valid defense.

  • 4

    Consensual Transport:

    1. If you transported individuals who you believed were authorized to enter the United States, this may be a valid defense. For example, if you believed that the individuals had valid visas or other legal documents, you may not have violated 8 USC 1324. Your attorney can investigate the circumstances of the transport and use this defense if applicable.

  • 5

    Fourth Amendment Violations:

    The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures. If the government obtained evidence against you through an illegal search or seizure, this evidence may be inadmissible in court. Your attorney can file a motion to suppress the evidence obtained through a Fourth Amendment violation, which can weaken the prosecution's case.

  • 6

    Miranda Rights Violations:

    1. When you are arrested and interrogated, law enforcement must inform you of your Miranda rights. These rights include the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. If the police violated your Miranda rights during the arrest or interrogation, any statements or admissions you made may be inadmissible in court. Your attorney can challenge the admissibility of these statements and weaken the prosecution's case.

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An award-winning criminal defense attorney Since 2006

Why Choose Josh Kolsrud

With over 100 trials to his name, and years of experience as a state and federal prosecutor, Josh understands the law, the legal process, and your rights. Josh is also committed to representing every client with utmost integrity and dedication



Josh has prosecuted major crimes on the state and federal level, led a successful anti-human sex trafficking operation that saved lives, and argued before countless juries and justices for his clients



Josh is an expert in both Arizona and federal criminal law, and is ready to put that expertise to work for you.



As a prosecutor, Josh saw far too many defendants lose their livelihood due to poor representation. Josh will always give every client his complete attention and effort

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