Robert J. Becerra

Top rated International attorney in Miami, Florida

Becerra Law, P.A.
Robert J. Becerra
Becerra Law, P.A.

Practice Areas: International, Business Litigation, White Collar Crimes; view more

Licensed in Florida since: 1990

Education: University of Miami School of Law

Languages Spoken: English, Spanish

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2014 - 2023

Becerra Law, P.A.

201 S Biscayne Blvd
Suite 800
Miami, FL 33131 Visit website


As the founder of his own firm in Miami, Florida, Robert J. Becerra concentrates his practice on civil and white-collar criminal litigation involving international trade. He is board certified as a specialist in international law by The Florida Bar, and he has extensive experience in the areas of international trade, export enforcement, embargo violations and money laundering. Mr. Becerra has handled complex cases dealing with the Lacey Act, the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, civil forfeitures and Customs seizures.

A 1986 graduate of the University of Miami, where he received a Bachelor of Business Administration in international finance and marketing, Mr. Becerra earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Miami School of Law, and graduated cum laude in 1990. Admitted to practice in Florida, he is also admitted to practice before the U. S. District Courts for the Southern and Middle Districts of Florida, the Eastern District of Texas, the U.S. Court of International Trade, the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 11th Circuit and 5th Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Mr. Becerra's background in litigation and international trade law led to him lecturing before international trade groups regarding various areas of international trade law and compliance.  He participated in the iLaw2022, the ILS Global Forum on International Law, moderating the panel entitled "International Money Laundering Through the Precious Metals Markets" and has been published on various occasions in "International Law Quarterly" the quarterly magazine published by the Florida Bar International Law Section.  Mr. Becerra is a Past-Chair of the Florida Bar International Law Section, and the Chair-Elect of the Florida Bar Council of Sections until June 2023.  He serves as Chair of the Florida Bar International Law Section's Foreign Legal Consultant Committee.  Mr. Becerra is Chair of Florida Bar Grievance Committee 11"J".

The esteem in which Mr. Becerra is held by his fellow professionals is evidenced by his receipt of an AV Preeminent* peer-review rating through Martindale-Hubbell and a "Superb 10.0" peer-review rating through Avvo. He has also been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America. A member of the Criminal Justice and International Law Sections of the American Bar Association, Mr. Becerra is an active participant in several other legal organizations as well, including the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

*AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished and Martindale-Hubbell Notable are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell® is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Rating™ fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.

Practice areas

International, Business Litigation, Criminal Defense: White Collar, Transportation/Maritime

Focus areas

Admiralty & Maritime Law, Criminal Law - Federal, Transportation Law, White Collar Crime

  • 30% International
  • 30% Business Litigation
  • 30% Criminal Defense: White Collar
  • 10% Transportation/Maritime

First Admitted: 1990, Florida

Professional Webpage:

Special Licenses/Certifications:
  • Florida Bar Board Certified Specialist in International Law
Educational Background:
  • University of Miami, B.B.A., Majors: International Finance and Marketing, 1986
  • Prevailed in a trademark case in federal court on a motion to stay and compel arbitration, over strenuous objection of the plaintiff., 2020
  • Prevailed at a federal bench trial in the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division, in an international business case where client was Chinese exporter of tablets, involving the Convention on the International Sale of Goods (CISG), 2022
  • Prevailed in an appeal to the Third District Court of Appeal of Florida from an order denying a motion to compel arbitration. The Court of Appeal reversed the order, and remanded for the granting of the motion to compel arbitration, 2020
  • In Miami-Dade state court, client moved to compel arbitration. Motion was denied. Took appeal of order denying motion to compel arbitration to Third District Court of Appeal. Order was reversed in client's favor, remanded for lower court to enter order compelling arbitration., 2020
  • Obtained settlement on behalf of seafood importer against freight logistics company for allowing seafood importer's container of shrimp to thaw and become spoiled., 2018
  • Customs and Border Protection seized shipping vessel for allegedly having secret compartments. Filed lawsuit against Government to get vessel back for owner. Litigated forfeiture action against Government. Arrived at settlement whereby vessel owner eliminated alleged compartments and paid storage charges in return for release of vessel., 2019
  • Obtained a $310,000 attorney's fee award against a Coffee import/export company in Miami, 2010
  • Client was Venezuelan national accused in civil action in Miami Dade Circuit Court of stealing up to 60 million dollars from defunct Venezuelan brokerage house in Caracas. I filed motion to dismiss for forum non conveniens, arguing that case belonged in Venezuelan courts.  Plaintiff, a Venezuelan national, claimed that because he was an asylum applicant in USA, Venezuelan courts would deprive him of due process and be unfair. After remand from an appellate court,  I convinced the Miami court to dismiss the case anyway in favor of a Venezuelan court. Case against my client was dismissed., 2013
  • Client had monies seized from bank account in Miami by federal government. After requesting judicial forfeiture proceedings and negotiating with government, it agreed to return almost all of the seized funds., 2011
  • Won not guilty verdict for clients, a cell phone exporter and its purchasing manager, in a federal criminal money laundering trial involving exports to Colombia and wire payments through the Black Market Peso Exchange., 2014
  • In representing a London vehicle importer, obtained both a settlement and a civil theft judgment against a Florida automobile broker who failed to deliver vehicles after being paid by the London importer., 2016
  • Represented a seafood wholesaler in a lawsuit brought against another seafood wholesaler in Miami-Dade Circuit Court for the conversion(theft) of a container load of frozen fish imported from Brazil. Becerra obtained a jury verdict in his client's favor in a very circumstantial case, resulting in a Final Judgment for his client $110,000., 2009
  • Convinced State Attorneys' Office to dismiss charges against client, a manager of a company, accused by her employer of stealing company funds. Also convinced Department of Economic Opportunity (unemployment compensation)  to reinstate her unemployment benefits over employer's objection at unemployment compensation appeal hearing, 2012
  • Represented president of freight forwarding company who was charged in Florida state court with possessing unstamped cigarettes and evasion of cigarette tax, all Florida felonies. Convinced prosecutor to dismiss felony charges and arranged no contest plea to misdemeanor of failing to have a permit to export cigarettes. No sentence, fines or taxes owed., 2017
  • Obtained a misdemeanor plea agreement and sentence for a client that is an importer of food ingredients in a very high profile case. The case involved dog food ingredients from China which were tainted, resulting in the deaths of thousands of dogs and cats. The government originally indicted the client with 26 FDA misdemeanors and a felony wire fraud conspiracy. Through negotiation, a plea agreement was reached whereby the client pled guilty to two misdemeanors and the felony wire fraud conspiracy was dismissed along with 24 other misdemeanors, and the government agreed in the plea agreement to a probationary sentence and fine. Client was sentenced to probation and a fine., 2010
  • Represented client charged in New York State Court with Enterprise Corruption, money laundering and illegal bookmaking in regard to an internet sports betting network. Worked out plea deal with prosecution dismissing all charges and allowing client to plead guilty to disorderly conduct, which is less than a misdemeanor under New York law., 2012
  • Robert J. Becerra had a client that was importing scrap gold into the U.S. from Panama. Customs claimed the scrap gold was really jewelry, requiring a different duty rate, and therefore seized the scrap gold for forfeiture. Becerra filed a petition for remission of the forfeiture, showing that any alleged misdeclaration was a mere mistake and requesting return of the scrap gold. Customs granted the petition, returned the more than $170,000 worth of scrap gold, in return for a payment of duty at the jewelry rate., 2008
  • Represented Shipper of computer parts from Florida to Dominican Republic. Defendant, an ocean carrier, had container with shipper's goods stolen from its warehouse/truck yard. Lawsuit filed and resulted in confidential settlement., 2013
  • Client was sued for violating Americans with Disabilities Act. Plaintiff voluntarily dismissed case after I filed a motion to dismiss for failing to plead with the particularity required by Supreme Court precedent, 2011
  • Lower court dismissed $60 million fraud case against client/defendant in Miami Court in favor of forum in Venezuela. Plaintiff took appeal. Appellate court affirmed dismissal of case in favor of court in Venezuela, 2014
  • Obtained a below Federal Sentencing Guidelines sentence of probation with home detention for a client convicted of tax evasion, 2011
  • In a Florida lawsuit between an exporter and a trucking company, I represented the trucking company. The exporter alleged that the trucking company had either lost or stole about $170,000 worth of its cargo. The trucking company filed a motion for summary judgment against the exporter. On the eve of the hearing on the motion for summary judgment, the exporter filed a dismissal of all its claims against the trucking company., 2015
  • Represented client in high profile criminal fraud case involving the Export-Import Bank of the United States. Client sentenced to bottom of Guideline Range although government claimed he was mastermind of scheme to defraud, 2011
  • Obtained federal court settlement for auto parts distributor/importer whereby Customs and Border Protection returned all seized auto parts to the auto parts distributor/importer which had been alleged to be counterfeit., 2017
  • Robert J. Becerra a case brought by his client, a U.S. importer, against a Chinese manufacturer of Christmas lights for breach of contract and warranties, won an appeal in the Third District Court of Appeal taken by the defendant of an order denying their motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, 2009
  • Settled civil case between joint venture partner and joint venture entity which extracted client from joint venture in its totality, without any surviving restrictions in return for substantial settlement payment, 2012
  • Robert J. Becerra had a client, an exporter of machinery, that had $50,000 seized out of its operating account by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), who alleged that the monies were traceable to narcotics money laundering. Becerra, through negotiations with ICE, was able to convince them that the Client was an innocent owner of the funds, having received them for payment on an export of goods. ICE agreed to return all the money back to the Client., 2009
  • Represented shipper of computer goods that were shipped from Florida to Colombia. When container was opened in Colombia it was found that much of the cargo was missing and replaced with sacks of concrete. I filed a lawsuit for shipper against trucking company, Ocean Transportation Intermediary and ocean carrier. Case was settled prior to trial in favor of Shipper, 2013
  • Represented a cheese importer who imported adulterated cheese from Nicaragua and then violated a hold on that cheese by the Food & Drug Administration. Importer then attempted to fool Customs and FDA into thinking the cheese was being re-exported when in fact it was already sold nationwide.  After a guilty plea, obtained a sentence for the principle that was a minor fraction of that requested by the government., 2010
  • Represented importer whose goods, cellular phones, were seized by US Customs. After government refused to return goods, I sued the Department of Homeland Security in federal court in Miami demanding the return of the goods. Settlement was entered into by the parties whereby all goods were returned to my importer client without payment of any monies, costs or fees to the government., 2013
  • Client and Chinese supplier were engaged in litigation over  bills unpaid by client  amounting to the millions for product imported into the US. After months of litigation, entered into settlement providing for terms allowing over 10 years to make installment payments and a discount of over 33% from amount owed on invoices., 2011
  • Robert J. Becerra of Becerra Law, P.A.  settled a civil forfeiture case in federal court in the Middle District of Florida which resulted in the federal government returning to Becerra Law’s client, an automobile exporter, 21 BMW vehicles worth over one million dollars, without the exporter having to pay any funds or storage costs to the  federal government. , 2014
  • Represented consignee of goods shipped from Africa which were stolen. Obtained favorable settlement from ocean carrier., 2011
  • Obtained favorable settlement for auto exporter in civil forfeiture case in New Jersey state court involving the State of New Jersey's seizure of the exporter's funds for the purchase of luxury vehicles for export to China., 2016
  • Obtained 50% reduction in sentence in federal criminal export violation case for client's cooperation after guilty plea where government requested only a 20% reduction, 2012
  • Robert J. Becerra represented a defendant in a federal criminal case involving a sting operation brought by the government. The defendant accompanied a crew of robbers from New York to Miami for the purpose of robbing drugs from a drug dealer which was portrayed by an undercover law enforcement officer. When the defendants arrived at the undercover officer's offices, they were arrested. Client was charged with drug trafficking charges, robbery charges and firearm possession charges. Client went to trial and obtained not guilty verdicts on the drug trafficking and gun possession charges, but was convicted on the robbery charges. This  resulted in only a two year sentence for Becerra's client, when co-defendants, who were convicted at the same trial of the drug and robbery charges, all received sentences of 15-20 years., 2006
  • Represented Indian exporter of cosmetic products. Exporter sold container loads of petroleum jelly to U.S. importer. U.S. importer failed to pay exporter's invoices, and then claimed poor quality as the reason. After lawsuit in Miami state court, case settled with importer returning product to exporter, plus $60,000 payment., 2012
  • Named to "Florida Legal Elite" list in Florida Trend Magazine in "International" practice., Florida Legal Elite, Florida Trend Magazine, 2021
  • Who's Who in American Law, Marquis Who's Who, 2009
  • Listed in "The Best Lawyers in America" 2015-2023 editions under "Criminal Defense: White-Collar", The Best Lawyers in America, 2023
  • America's Most Honored Professionals, American Registry, 2011
  • Rated 10.0, “Superb” by Avvo, a lawyer rating website
  • Listed among "South Florida's Top Rated Lawyers," Criminal Law, 2012, 2013
  • Ranked AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 out of 5*, Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory
  • Named, "Top Lawyer," Criminal Law/Criminal Defense, South Florida Legal Guide, 2012-2019, South Florida Legal Guide, 2021
  • Named, "Super Lawyer" Super Lawyers Magazine, 2014-2022, SuperLawyers, 2022
Scholarly Lectures/Writings:
  • The article discusses the manners and methods of trade-based money laundering through the precious metals markets and ways to avoid involvement in illicit transactions, Author, Gold at the End of the Rainbow: Money Laundering Through the Precious Metals Markets, International Law Quarterly, International Law, 2022
  • I authored a chapter on international criminal law in the Florida Bar International Law Section's reference deskbook, Author, International Criminal Law, The International Law Deskbook 2020, International Law, 2020
  • Zoom webinar on the legal issues presented when importing Gray Market products, Presenter, Gray Market Imports, Florida Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association, International Trade And Logistics, 2020
  • Article discussing the market for gray market products and the line where engaging in that market becomes illegal, Author, When the Gray Market Turns Black, International Law Quarterly, International Trade And Logistics; Distribution, 2020
  • Presented seminar on trade based money laundering in international trade, Presenter, Trade Based Money Laundering, Florida Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association, International Trade And Logistics, 2020
  • Moderated panel on compliance due diligence, Moderator, Compliance in Mergers and Acquisitions, iLaw2020: The ILS Global Forum on International Law, Law, 2020
  • Co-author, "Criminal Liability for Corporate Officers-The Resurrection of the Park Doctrine in Food and Drug Cases," Practical Trade & Customs Strategies, Thomson Reuters, April 15, 2013
  • Quoted, "Shutdown could stymie shipping, stall food inspections,", October 8, 2013
  • Blog co-authored on the Becker & Poliakoff Customs and International Trade Law Blog hosted by Jennifer Diaz, Esq., regarding criminal convictions and sentences of defendants who imported counterfeit toys from China., co-author, Florida Companies Convicted and Sentenced , 2013
  • Presenter, "Criminal Enforcement in the Seafood Industry and The Park Doctrine," Seafood Expo North America, Boston, Massachusetts, March 17, 2014
  • Moderator, "International Trade and Customs Law 2013," The Florida Bar International Law Section's Annual International Litigation & Arbitration Conference, Miami, February 28, 2014
  • Presenter, "When the Government Comes Knockin'; Handling Visits from Uninvited Regulatory Officials," Florida Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association, 2014 seminar series, March 19, 2014
  • Author, "A Review of the Adequate Forum Factor in Forum Non Conveniens Analysis in Florida's State and Federal Courts", International Law Quarterly, Summer 2014, Florida Bar International Law Section
  • Quoted, "1906 law pre-empts claims over interstate shipping," Daily Business Review, July 1, 2013
  • Panelist, import/export "Emerging Entrepreneurs" event sponsored by Hispanic Unity of Florida (HUF), discussing the legal issues presented when conducting import/export business, Weston, Florida, March 19, 2015
  • Quoted, "U.S. Targets Drug Execs", The Wall Street Journal, September 13, 2011 - How U.S. authorities are stepping up enforcement of a little-used law known as the "responsible corporate officer doctrine" to hold executives personally and criminally responsible for violations of food & drug laws
  • Panelist, "Advanced Seafood Safety and Compliance and Federal Regulators", Seafood Expo North America, Boston, Massachusetts, March 16, 2015
  • Moderator, "How Should Counsel Use Trade Agreements in Commercial Disputes?" 11th International Litigation and Arbitration Conference, Miami, March 1, 2013
  • Panelist, "International Trade Compliance for the Business Lawyer", International Litigation, Arbitration & Transactions Conference, Florida Bar International Law Section, February 26, 2016​
  • Author, "Threats of Criminal Action for Advantage in a Civil Dispute: Legal and Ethical Consequences," 3rd Annual International Litigation Update: Hot Topics in International Litigation, published by the Florida Bar's International Litigation and Arbitration Committee
  • Presenter, "Managing Criminal Exposure under the FCPA and Other Laws Impacting International Trade", March 15, 2012, Florida Bar, International Law Section Continuing Legal Education webinar - The webinar reviewed and highlighted the criminal laws most likely to ensnare the companies and executives involved in international trade, such as exporters, importers of food, drugs, and other regulated products, and logistics companies
  • Contributing Author to the Annual Review of Developments in Business and Corporate Litigation, 2005 edition (chapter 18, "Intellectual Property"), for the Committee on Business and Corporate Litigation for the American Bar Association
  • I was the featured presenter in a seafood industry sponsored webinar discussing criminal enforcement in the seafood industry, Presenter, Comply or Die: Criminal Enforcement in the Seafood Industry,, 2017
  • Panelist in Technical Program for the International Precious Metals Institute's 2017 annual conference in Orlando, Florida, Panelist, Staying out of Trouble and Keeping the Feds Away From Your Import Shipments, International Precious Metals Institute, 2017
  • Article published in International Law Quarterly, Winter 2018 edition,  focuses on recent case law in Florida holding that the Carmack Amendment does not preempt state law claims for wrongful misconduct causing damage to an inland shipment, Author, Crack in the Carmack: Florida Supreme Court holds Carmack Amendment Preemption not Absolute in all Claims involving Inland Shipments, Florida Bar International Law Section, 2018
  • Presented on a panel regarding the NOAA's new Seafood Import Monitoring Program at the Seafood Expo North America held in Boston March 11-13, 2018, Seafood Import Monitoring Program, Seafood Expo North America, 2018
  • Co-Presenter in this live seminar held on April 18, 2018 at the headquarters of the Florida Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association which discussed administrative, civil and criminal Customs and Trade Enforcement, Co-Presenter, Everthing you Need to Know About Customs and Trade Enforcement, FCBF, International Trade, 2018
  • Article published in Daily Business Review on July 24, 2018 regarding trade-based money laundering in international trade and real estate., Author, Trade Based Money Laundering-South Florida is in the Bullseye, American Lawyers Media, 2018
Bar/Professional Activity:
  • United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana, 2023
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas,  2019
  • Chair of the Foreign Legal Consultants Committee of the Florida Bar International Law Section, 2022
  • Chair, Florida Bar Grievance Committee 11"J", 2023
  • Chair, Florida Bar International Law Section, 2020
  • Immediate Past-Chair, Florida Bar International Law Section, 2021
  • Chair-Elect,  Florida Bar Council of Sections, 2022
  • Chair-Elect, Florida Bar International Law Section, 2019
  • Member, Florida Bar International Law Certification Committee 2016-2019
  • U.S. Court of International Trade, 2015
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Supreme Court of the United States, 1994
  • Treasurer, Florida Bar International Law Section, 2017
  • Member, Florida Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association
  • U. S. District Court, Middle District of Florida, 1991
  • Florida Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association
  • United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, 1997
  • U. S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, 1991
  • Member, American Bar Association, Criminal Justice and Litigation Sections
  • U. S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, 1994
  • U. S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, 1991
  • Secretary, Florida Bar International Law Section, 2018
  • Florida, 1990
Industry Groups:
  • International Trade
  • Transportation

Office location for Robert J. Becerra

201 S Biscayne Blvd
Suite 800
Miami, FL 33131

Phone: 786-785-8466


10 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2014 - 2023

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