Law Office of Kimberly N. Shanklin, PLLC.
Serving Denton County Since 2002
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Smuggling of Persons

Smuggling of Persons

Chapter 20 of the Texas Penal Code places restrictions on retraining, abducting, and smuggling persons.

“Smuggling of Persons”, as per §20.05 of the Texas Penal Code, occurs when a person, with the intent to obtain a pecuniary benefit, knowingly:

  • Uses a motor vehicle, aircraft, watercraft, or other means of conveyance to transport an individual with the intent to either:

    • conceal the individual from a peace officer or special investigator

    • flee from a person the actor knows is a peace officer or special investigator

It is an affirmative defense to the prosecution of smuggling persons that the actor is related to the smuggled individual within the second degree of consanguinity or, at the time of the offense, within the second degree of affinity.

In the state of Texas, if conduct constituting smuggling of persons also constitutes an offense under another section of this code, the actor may be prosecuted under either section or under both sections.

If the actor commits the offense in a manner that creates a substantial likelihood that the smuggled individual will suffer serious bodily injury or death, or if the smuggles individual is a child younger than 17 years of age at the time of offense, the charge is a second degree felony, which carried with it a term of imprisonment ranging from 2-20 years, as well as a fine not to exceed $10,000. If it shown on the trial of the offense that, as a result of the commission of the offense, the smuggled individual became the victim of sexual assault, or aggravated sexual assault, or if hey smuggled individual suffered serious bodily injury or death, the charge is a first degree felony. The punishment for a first degree felony is a term of imprisonment ranging from 5 years to life, as well as a fine of up to $10,000.

Severity of Crime

Second Degree FelonY

  • Imprisonment in the institutional division for not more than 20 years or less than two years

  • In addition to imprisonment, may receive a fine not to exceed $10,000

First Degree Felony

  • Imprisonment in the institutional division for life, or

  • Imprisonment in the institutional division for not more than 99 years or less than five years with the exception of aggravated sexual assault, which adds a 25-year minimum punishment if the victim is younger than 6, or younger than 14 and the offense contained threats of serious bodily injury or death, or use of a deadly weapon

  • In addition to imprisonment, may receive a fine not to exceed $10,000