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Export Control Violations

In an effort to promote national security interests and foreign policy objectives the United States Government controls the export of sensitive equipment, software, and technology. Failing to adhere to the appropriate licensing requirements can result in criminal prosecution, imprisonment for up to ten years, and hefty fines, so if you have questions or concerns about your company’s ability to export certain items or are being investigated for violating export regulations, it is critical to contact an experienced federal crimes attorney who can help protect your interests.

Licensing Agencies

Under the Export Administration Act, three different U.S. Government agencies are authorized to issue export licenses, including:

  • The Department of State;
  • The Department of Commerce; and
  • The Department of the Treasury.

By implementing the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), the Department of Commerce is able to oversee the export or re-export of dual-use goods, software, and technology that originated in the U.S. The agencies are particularly concerned with items that although intended for non-military applications, could be used for military purposes.

Restricted Exports

Restricted items under the EAR are divided into the following ten categories:

  • Nuclear materials, facilities, and equipment;
  • Materials, chemicals, microorganisms, and toxins;
  • Materials processing;
  • Electronics;
  • Computers;
  • Telecommunications and information security;
  • Sensors and lasers;
  • Navigation and avionics;
  • Marine; and
  • Propulsion systems, space vehicles, and related equipment.

Depending on the country of destination and the purpose for which the item will be used, a product that falls under one of these categories may require a specific license issued by the Department of Commerce. Items that are not listed under these categories fall under the Ear99 division, which covers common items, including automobiles and household appliances. Usually, these types of items do not require a special license, although there may be exceptions for those who wish to export to a sanctioned country. The Office of Foreign Asset Controls (OFAC), which is part of the Department of the Treasury regularly compiles a list of countries, with which the U.S. cannot trade. Currently, the list includes Belarus, Burma, Cuba, Iran, the Ivory Coast, Liberia, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, and Zimbabwe among others. By placing sanctions on these countries, the OFAC attempts to use the blocking of assets and trade restrictions to its advantage in accomplishing national security goals.


A person who violates the export regulations can face both civil and criminal prosecution. Conviction could result in a ten year prison sentence and the imposition of a $500,000 fine per violation. A defendant could also be subject to civil fines of up to $12,000 per violation and could be denied future export privileges.

Contact a South Florida Experienced Federal Crimes Attorney

Licensing and export violations can have serious consequences. Unfortunately, many Americans are unaware of the in-depth nature of licensing requirements and so may unwittingly forego a necessary procedural step, so if you are being investigated for an export violation, please contact Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. Criminal Defense Attorneys at (305) 670-9919 to set up a free consultation with an experienced federal crimes attorney who can explain your legal options.


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