Hire a Lawyer for Customs Taxes Offenses

Customs laws and ordinances apply whenever a person enters or exists in the United States or sends and receives goods from abroad. Customs laws are federal laws and apply notwithstanding your state of residence, not where you enter or exit the United States.

If you violate customs laws, both civil and criminal penalties are assessed for each violation. The United States Criminal Code includes a section relating to customs laws, §2T3.1, entitled Evading Import Duties or Restrictions (Smuggling); Receiving or Trafficking in Smuggled Property.

Are you facing federal charges relating to any of these offenses? The Zoukis Consulting Group will defend you in court and work to get you the best possible outcome.

Violating Customs Laws: A Federal Offense

A broad assortment of laws and statutes affect when people or things enter or depart the country. For instance, several federal agencies institute regulations on the influx of food or agricultural products into the United States, including the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture. 

Government agencies have the authority to limit which items can leave or enter a given country. Any law relating to the movement of products across international borders is considered a customs stipulation.

Furthermore, laws that ban the ownership of illicit drugs are also regarded as customs laws because of their application to international travelers.

Types of Customs Violations

Customs laws and regulations change regularly, but some distinct areas where the most frequent violations occur.

False Declarations

Many individuals face customs requirements upon returning to the country after a vacation or business trip. Upon entering the United States, travelers must immediately declare to customs officials the nature and value of any goods or products returning to the country with them. This duty to report includes anything from small souvenirs to costly wines or cheeses.

If you deliberately disclude items or misrepresent their monetary worth, you might face federal criminal charges. While failing to disclose or falsely disclosing are very common, any other false declarations about a product can also lead to imposed penalties. 

Notably, if you are traveling out of the country with more than $10,000 worth of currency, you must also disclose that before departing. 

Exporting Violations

A wide variety of goods are subject to export restrictions and constraints. Indeed, some limitations demand that you obtain an export license before shipping any items out of the United States. 

On the other hand, some regulations set restrictions on exports based on the characteristics of the items, who is collecting them, and the objects’ purpose. 

Importing Violations 

Importing items into the country is also controlled by rules regarding specific declarations and announcements. All imports are subject to import taxes, called duties. 

Attempting to conceal the characteristics of an import, its origin, or value to avoid import duties is a crime. For instance, people can break importation duties when carrying considerable amounts of alcohol or tobacco without satisfying the required obligation.


Many state and federal laws govern the possession of particular types of items, like drugs or weapons. Trying to bring banned items into the country is known as smuggling. Even illegally transporting people fall under this category of offense. Smuggling can include several crimes, and depending on what items are smuggled, the consequences could become quite severe. 


Dishonoring customs laws can result in significant penalties for individuals and organizations included in the violation. Customs penalties differ depending on the details of the crime but may consist of civil or criminal penalties. 

Criminal penalties vary depending on the type of crime committed but generally have various potential punishments.


After a conviction, criminal fines for customs infringements can be significant, resulting in thousands of dollars in costs.


Prison terms are plausible for some customs infractions, especially smuggling. For illustration, creating a false declaration when reentering the country carries a penalty of up to two years in prison. 


Customs violations often result in probation. A person condemned to probation ordinarily serves at least a 12-month sentence, though likely much longer. 

During that period, probationers must comply with numerous court-imposed commands which dramatically limit personal actions. When on supervision, a person must report to a probation officer regularly and gain the permission of that officer before traveling anywhere outside of the court’s jurisdiction. 

In addition to any fines assessed for the commission of the crime, convicted people must also pay supervision fees to the probation officer. 

Speak With Customs Taxes Defense Attorney

Customs crimes can immediately become a serious matter. Anyone facing an arrest or an investigation for a customs infringement should consult a local attorney immediately. 

Customs laws can be complex and evolve quickly. Many people arrested for a crime may not understand that their action was illegal.

A criminal defense attorney who frequently practices in federal court can give you legal advice based on experience with the local courts, federal prosecutors, and the nuances of customs laws and regulations.

Call the Zoukis Consulting Group now for a criminal defense lawyer who specializes in customs taxes.