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New York Passport Crimes Defense Lawyer

The United States immigration system already stacks the deck against non-citizens entering the country. Any criminal activity conducted in connection with immigration is taken very seriously. Prosecutors will not hesitate to throw the book at a defendant suspected of issuing fake passports, visas, or other citizenship documents. Passport and visa fraud may be prosecuted under a number of different statutes, but they can all result in felony charges, heavy fines, deportation, and years, if not decades, in prison.

If you’ve been charged with a passport crime in New York, you need to contact a seasoned, savvy criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The passport crimes defense attorney at Dupée & Monroe can help you build a strong defense and fight to see your charges reduced or dropped entirely.

Forgery Under New York Law

Defendants arrested for the creation or possession of a fake passport in New York may face state felony charges. Falsifying a document issued by a public office, such as a passport, is a class D felony, as is criminal possession of such a forged document. The defendant must know the document is forged and possess the intent to defraud. Class D felonies are punishable by up to seven years in prison.

Federal Passport and Visa Fraud Statutes

Passport and visa fraud can be punished under several different statutes, depending on how the crime was committed, the nature of the defendant, and other factors. Most passport and visa crimes are punished under Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1541-1546. Criminal acts covered by Chapter 75, relating to passports and visas, include the following:

Issuance Without Authority. Any employee of the United States or a state who grants, issues, or verifies a passport or visa without lawful authority can be charged with a felony.

False Statements in Application and Use of a Passport. Any person who makes a false statement in an application for a passport can be charged with a felony.

Forgery or False Use of a Passport. Any person who forges or counterfeits a passport, or who knowingly uses a forged passport, can be charged with a felony.

Misuse of a Passport. Any person who uses another person’s passport, attempts to improperly use a passport, or knowingly delivers one person’s passport to someone other than the appropriate person, can be charged with a felony.

Safe Conduct Violation. Any person who violates any safe conduct or passport duly issued by the U.S. can be charged with a felony and punished by up to 10 years in prison.

Fraud and Misuse of Visas and Other Documents. Any person who forges or counterfeits a visa, or who knowingly uses a forged visa or any other immigration document, can be charged with a felony.

Penalties for Federal Passport and Visa Fraud. Upon conviction for any of the listed crimes other than safe conduct violation, the defendant can be charged with a felony and punished by:

  • Up to 10 years in prison for a first or second offense
  • Up to 15 years for a subsequent offense
  • Up to 20 years in prison, if the issuance was intended to further a drug trafficking crime
  • Up to 25 years in prison, if the issuance was intended to further an act of international terrorism

Defendants can also face up to $250,000 in fines for each offense.

Mail Fraud, Wire Fraud, and Other Federal Statutes

In addition to the crimes specifically relating to passport and visa fraud, a defendant facing passport-related allegations may face counts under other statutes. If the crime was committed via the use of interstate mailing or facilitated through the internet, the defendant might be charged with mail fraud and/or wire fraud. Mail and wire fraud each carry a punishment of up to 20 years in prison per count, and each mail or wire transfer can be charged as a separate count. Federal defendants may also be charged with bank fraud if financial institutions were utilized in the transfer of ill-gotten gains.

Additionally, federal defendants who worked with accomplices may face charges of conspiracy. Conspiracy carries a significant penalty in its own right, and the charge can be used to tie criminal acts of other conspirators to each co-conspirator. Make sure you discuss your case with your federal criminal defense lawyer to understand the charges you may be facing and how to build the strongest defense.

Help is Available for Passport Crime Charges from Our Hudson Valley Criminal Defense Lawyers

If you have been arrested and charged with passport crimes under New York state or federal law, contact Dupée & Monroe, P.C., in Goshen. We represent clients charged with misdemeanor and felony offenses in Orange County and throughout the Hudson Valley.

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