Customs criminal law and monetary fines proceedings

Legal advice on customs criminal law and fines for customs violations by our customs lawyers in Hamburg

Criminal customs law also plays an important role in the context of customs law.  Customs criminal law and Customs offences law can lead to considerable consequences for managing directors and foreign trade employees. In this way not only substantial fines but also imprisonment can be imposed. Our attorneys also examine the possibilities of declaring customs violations yourself and accompany you in doing so.

O&W Rechtsanwälte advises managing directors and employees of companies on criminal and administrative offence proceedings. We should be consulted before any statements are made to customs. Simply contact us at 040 / 369615-0.

There are considerable consequences, including prison sentences

There is no EU international customs criminal law, as the EU has no competence for criminal law. Rather, it is a matter of national law, regularly in the sense of the Tax Code (AO). However, customs criminal law is characterised by numerous peculiarities resulting from the Europeanisation of customs law. A real catalogue of fines, as in road traffic, does not exist in customs matters. Penalties and fines are always determined on a case-by-case basis.

Criminal and fine proceedings of customs should never be treated indifferently. Rather, a thorough examination of the allegation is necessary so that a proper statement can be made.

Customs offences often have serious consequences. Proactive action is usually worthwhile

In this way, it is often possible to avoid the imposition of heavy fines or prison sentences. In any case, all aspects must be examined quickly and thoroughly.

Raids by the German custom authorities

In individual cases, it may also happen that German Customs conducts a raid on the business premises of a company by means of customs investigation. This is normally the case when there is a suspicion that there are significant infringements of the Customs Code and that import duties have therefore not been paid in a punishable manner.

In these cases no hasty statements should be made and consultation with a lawyer should take place immediately. Otherwise, facts are often created that cannot be cleared up later. The customs investigation must also clarify to what extent evidence can remain in the business premises, otherwise business operations cannot be maintained.

Customs offences and misdemeanours

Administrative offences in customs law are the frivolous tax reduction (§ 378 AO), the tax endangerment (§ 379 AO), the endangerment of excise duties (§ 381 AO) and the endangerment of import and export duties (§ 382 AO).

Offences relating to customs include, inter alia, the following

  • ban break (§ 372 AO),
  • industrial, violent and gang smuggling (§ 373 AO),
  • Customs evasion (§ 370 AO),
  • control heating (§ 374 AO),
  • favourable treatment (§ 369 Paragraph 1 No. 4 AO) and
  • Falsification of control characters (§§ 148, 149 StGB, § 369 Abs. 1 Nr. 3 AO) .

The following infringements in particular are conceivable in foreign trade law

O&W advises its clients comprehensively in criminal proceedings and administrative offences with regard to customs procedures. We represent our clients vis-à-vis the customs investigators, the penal and fine offices of the main customs offices, the public prosecutor’s offices and the courts and advise them in the run-up to criminal proceedings.