What Is Passport Fraud?
Passport fraud is seeking to gain the benefits of citizenship in a country by forging a passport or falsifying other legal documents to obtain a passport. Passport fraud is a federal felony offense and considered a serious crime by the U.S. government.
If you have been accused of passport fraud, it is important to understand the charges against you and the potential penalties. You may be tempted to try to handle the matter on your own, but this is a serious accusation that requires an experienced attorney to help you contest the charges.
The following activities are strictly prohibited when applying for a passport or visa:
- registering with the identity of an individual who is deceased;
- presenting falsified documents, like counterfeit birth certificates;
- using someone else's passport without their permission;
- altering any portion of your passport.
If you are caught engaging in one of these activities, your actions could be classified as fraudulent and result in criminal passport fraud charges.
To be formally convicted for passport fraud, the following elements must exist:
- Defendant possessed a passport that was forged, counterfeited, falsely made, or otherwise altered; and
- Defendant knew that the passport in their position was forged, counterfeited, falsely made, or otherwise altered.
Being convicted of passport fraud can be a very serious offense. Depending on the exact circumstances, it could mean imprisonment for up to 10 years, hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines, passport revocation or passport cards being taken away, and an expedited order of removal from the United States.
You Have the Right to Attorney if You Are Accused of Passport Fraud
It is an individual's constitutional right to legal defense when accused of a crime. An experienced lawyer can evaluate your case, offer vital insight into complex legal issues, adhere to all applicable laws, give assistance with presenting evidence, provide any needed negotiations, and more.
If you find yourself charged with passport fraud, it's in your best interest to consult an attorney. Not only are the potential consequences of a guilty verdict severe, but without a legal expert on your side, you may be unable to effectively defend against the government's charges. An experienced lawyer will understand the nuances of U.S. law and how they apply to your case. Without experienced legal representation, many individuals run the risk of facing punishments significantly out of proportion with their alleged crime. Consulting an attorney is an essential step before proceeding in any passport fraud case.
To get started, contact our professionals at Brad Bailey Law for a free, confidential consultation.