A Customs Lawyer can help to eliminate or mitigate penalties both by getting involved prior to importation and by participating in the penalty proceeding.
Certain actions by importers and foreign exporters which are found to be violative of one or more Customs Laws can make imported goods or other things subject to forfeiture. A forfeiture occurs when Customs refuses to allow the importer to bring the product into the United States, seizes the product, and where the importer loses all title to the importation and the importation becomes the property of the United States, either voluntarily or at the close of a formal proceeding. Often the forfeited import is destroyed or sold at auction. While this most often occurs in the case of the vehicles used to smuggle drugs or other contraband, this can also occur in the commercial setting.
As with penalties, active participation by Customs lawyers can prevent the initiation of seizure proceedings and can result in the remission of some forfeitures.
A seizure can occur when Customs detains a product upon entry for violation of a law administered by Customs. Items which are seized are ultimately subject to forfeiture proceedings.