In a recent survey, it was noted more than 60 percent of cigarettes sold in New York have been smuggled in by those seeking to avoid paying the required tax. With the price of a single pack of cigarettes now over $12, more people are seeking ways to have their cigarettes without paying additional taxes and fees. However, just because you have been charged with cigarette smuggling does not make you guilty. In fact, numerous people who face cigarette smuggling charges realize the importance of having qualified legal help to navigate their way to innocence.
State or Criminal Charges?
While the vast majority of these cases are tried by states, more and more cases have started to find the federal government becoming involved. For the most part, this is due to law enforcement believing that cigarette smuggling is directly linked to organized crime, helping to fund various activities. However, since this is not a fact written in stone, it’s quite possible to poke holes in the theory law enforcement may present during a trial. If you have been unfairly charged with cigarette smuggling and having ties to organized crime, don’t hesitate to contact a defense attorney skilled in cigarette smuggling cases. No matter whether you are facing state or federal charges, law enforcement will be all too eager to make an example out of you. Instead of letting this happen, hire a lawyer who knows how to handle cigarette smuggling cases and is not afraid to fight to protect you and your rights.
Cigarette Smuggling Penalties
In virtually all cigarette smuggling cases, you can find yourself facing a prison sentence if convicted. In addition, you may also be fined and expected to pay restitution to cover any taxes that may be due. Because prosecutors are determined to win these cases as a way of showing they are not afraid to take on and defeat organized crime, they will pull out all the stops in an effort to have you convicted of this crime. However, if you have hired an attorney skilled in handling these cases, you will undoubtedly have a much better chance of winning your case. Whether it’s negotiating a plea, raising various defenses, or introducing enough reasonable doubt that makes it impossible for a prosecutor to meet the burden of proof necessary to prove their case, a cigarette smuggling lawyer can develop strategies that will win almost any case.
Cigarette Smuggling Laws
In many instances, people may be charged with a crime when in fact they had no idea they were doing anything wrong. To keep this from happening, it’s important to understand cigarette smuggling laws if you find yourself being charged with this crime. A cigarette, which is defined as any wrapped roll of tobacco, is considered contraband if it does not have a stamp or any other evidence that taxes have been paid. Along with this, you can be charged with cigarette smuggling if you are believed to be shipping, receiving, transporting, possessing, selling, distributing, or purchasing contraband cigarettes. Also, if you are believed to have made false statements or provided records that were false or altered, you may face charges. Penalties can include three to five years in prison, and the seized cigarettes may be destroyed or used by law enforcement for undercover work. Needless to say, law enforcement and prosecutors will not believe you if you state you had no idea you were doing anything wrong. However, an attorney who understands the complexities of these laws and cases will believe you, and fight every step of the way to see that justice is served.
Do I Need an Attorney?
If you have been charged with cigarette smuggling, there is no doubt you need to hire a skilled attorney quickly. The longer you wait, the harder it may be for your lawyer to gather key evidence. Offering free consultations, attorneys are able to discuss the case with you in great detail and develop a defense strategy that provides you an excellent chance of winning. Rather than be intimidated by law enforcement, let a cigarette smuggling lawyer plan a winning strategy that will leave prosecutors shaking their heads in disbelief that they lost their airtight case.