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Brazil: Penal Code Amended

(July 3, 2014) On June 27, 2014, Brazil published Law No. 13,008, which increases the punishment for smuggling. The new Law amends the Penal Code (Código Penal [C.P.], Decreto-Lei No. 2,848, de 7 de Dezembro de 1940, PLANALTO) and makes smuggling (contrabando) and contraband (descaminho, see definitions below) two types of crime, instead of being concentrated as just one type of criminal offense with the same punishment. (Ivan Richard, Diário Oficial Publica Lei que Aumenta Pena para Crime de Contrabando, AGÊNCIA BRASIL (June 27, 2014).)

Under the new rule, smuggling is defined as the importation or exportation of prohibited goods and is punished with two to five years in prison (C.P., art. 334-A), while importing contraband occurs when there is evasion, in whole or in part, of the payment of duty or tax due for the entry, exit, or consumption of goods and is punished with one to four years in prison (C.P., art. 334). The new text also provides for an increased penalty when the crimes of smuggling and importing contraband are committed at sea or on inland waterway transportation. (Id.)

Before the amendment, there was no distinction in regard to the punishment for these offenses, and they were both punished with one to four years in prison. In addition, the punishment was increased only when the criminal act occurred with the use of air transportation. (Id.)