NYC Passport Crimes Attorney
Being charged with a passport crime, which can also include visa fraud, is a serious offense and should not be taken lightly. A United States passport serves as someone’s proof of identity and proves their country of citizenship. Not surprisingly, there are strict regulations regarding both the issuing and use of a passport. Much of this is controlled by federal law, making any violation a serious criminal offense.
Each year there are millions of passports issued throughout the country. In 2018, the U.S. Department of State reported that 21,103,475 passports were issued, which included 2,812,691 passport cards. Given the sheer volume of passports issued, there is no surprise that some fraud does exist.
If you or a loved one have been charged with a passport crime, it’s imperative to contact a New York City passport crimes attorney right away. Mark I. Cohen, Esq. is an experienced attorney who has been representing clients in the greater New York City area for nearly 30 years. We have ample experience helping clients who have been accused of passport crimes or visa fraud.
Title 18, U.S. Code, Sections 1541-1546
Since 9/11 federal and state crimes related to possible forged citizenship or immigration documents have garnered extra attention given the continued concern from Homeland Security due to threats of terrorism. In many cases, passport crimes involve people who are hoping to get U.S. citizenship to live the “American dream,” not necessarily for them to come here with nefarious plans. Your passport serves as proof that you have the legal right to be in the country, and ensures that those trying to enter the country do so legally.
Some people want to come to the country to be with their families or to have the chance to study. And, rather than go through the laborious process of applying or a visa, which can take years, they sometimes cut corners or falsify information outright in order to get into the United States sooner.
Because this is covered under federal law, you could be facing a serious criminal investigation by the federal government. Depending on the circumstances, the criminal charges can range from mail fraud or wire fraud to perjury or conspiracy. In Title 18 of the United States Code, sections 1541 to 1546 attempt to address all methods that someone might use in order to falsely obtain or use a fake U.S. passport or visa.
New York State Penalties
Under New York state law, NY PL 170.25, someone can be found guilty of possessing a forged document in the second degree when the document they possess is covered under section 170.10. This section defines a written instrument as one that is officially issued or created by a public office, public servant, or government instrumentality. The person must have had full knowledge the passport was forged, and was deliberately intending to use it to defraud. This is classified as a Class D felony, which is punishable by up to seven years in prison. If you are charged under federal law, it could be as high 10 years in a federal prison, plus a $250,000 fine for every offense.
Contact a New York City Criminal Defense Attorney Today
Being charged with a passport crime is nothing to play around with. It’s imperative you retain a skilled New York City criminal defense attorney right away. Contact Mark I. Cohen, Esq. today to schedule an initial consultation.