About the Law

Federal prosecutors frequently choose to charge individual defendants with a variety of crimes under a number of different statutes. An illegal alien who is caught while negotiating a drug deal, for example, might be indicted for drug dealing, numerous conspiracy offenses, as well as immigration violations. During the data collection process, the Justice Department asks the prosecutors to select the "lead charge" on all referrals that they handle. Obviously, these judgments often are somewhat subjective when multiple serious charges are involved. Sometimes, they are influenced by the political needs of the moment: an administration, for example, that wants to show the public it is concentrating on narcotics or illegal immigrants along the southwest border.

Here then, as viewed through the lens of federal prosecutors across the country, are the most frequently cited "lead charges" involved in referrals coming from the DHS. The complete text of these frequently cited lead charges can be viewed by selecting the particular statute of interest in the following table.

Click on statute to view text

U.S. Code Description
05 USC 00552 Violation of privacy act by a federal employee
08 USC 01306 Immigration - Penalties
08 USC 01324 Bringing in and harboring certain aliens
08 USC 01325 Entry of alien at improper time or place; etc.
08 USC 01326 Reentry of deported alien
18 USC 00003 Accessory after the fact
18 USC 00111 Assaulting, resisting, impeding certain officers
18 USC 00115 Influencing, impeding, or retaliating against a Federal official
18 USC 00201 Bribery of public officials and witnesses
18 USC 00242 Deprivation of rights under color of law
18 USC 00371 Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US
18 USC 00545 Smuggling goods into the United States
18 USC 00554 Smuggling goods from the United States
18 USC 00641 Public money, property or records
18 USC 00758 High speed flight from immigration checkpoint
18 USC 00911 False personification - Citizen of the US
18 USC 00922 Firearms; Unlawful acts
18 USC 00924 Firearms; Penalties
18 USC 01001 Fraud/false statements or entries generally
18 USC 01028 Fraud and related activity - id documents
18 USC 01028A Aggravated Identity Theft
18 USC 01029 Fraud and related activity - access devices
18 USC 01030 Fraud and related activity - computers
18 USC 01341 Mail Fraud - Frauds and swindles
18 USC 01343 Fraud by wire, radio, or television
18 USC 01344 Bank Fraud
18 USC 01349 Mail Fraud - Attempt and Conspiracy
18 USC 01361 Malicious Mischief - Govrnmt property or contracts
18 USC 01425 Procurement of citizenship or naturalization unlaw
18 USC 01542 False statement in application and use of passport
18 USC 01543 Forgery or false use of passport
18 USC 01544 Misuse of passport
18 USC 01546 Fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents
18 USC 01589 Forced Labor
18 USC 01591 Sex trafficking of children by force, fraud or coercion
18 USC 01708 Theft or receipt of stolen mail matter generally
18 USC 01952 Racketeering -interstate/foreign travel/transport
18 USC 01956 Laundering of monetary instruments
18 USC 02113 Bank robbery and incidental crimes
18 USC 02119 Carjacking
18 USC 02237 Criminal Sanction for Failure to heave to or provide false information
18 USC 02241 Aggravated sexual abuse
18 USC 02250 Fail to register as sex offender after traveling interstate commerce
18 USC 02251 Sexual exploitation of children
18 USC 02252 Material involving sexual exploitation of minors
18 USC 02252A Activity relating material constituting/containing chil
18 USC 02312 Transportation of stolen vehicles
18 USC 02314 Transportation of stolen goods, etc
18 USC 02320 Trafficking in counterfeit goods or services
18 USC 02422 Transport for sex - Coercion and enticement
18 USC 02423 Transportation of minors for sexual activity
18 USC 03048 Commitment to another district; removal--Rule 40
19 USC 01459 Reporting requirements for individuals
21 USC 00841 Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A
21 USC 00846 Attempt and conspiracy
21 USC 00952 Importation of controlled substances
21 USC 00963 Attempt and conspiracy
31 USC 05316 Exporting and importing monetary instruments
31 USC 05332 Bulk Cash Smuggling into or out of the United States
33 USC 01907 Prevention of Pollution from Ships - Violations
42 USC 00408 Fed Old Age, Survivors & Disab Insur -Penalties
46 USC 70503 Possession control substance on vessel subject to jurisdiction of US
46 USC 70506 Penalties

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