Civil forfeiture is the process where the government or law enforcement officers seize assets or property from the owner because the property or/and owners are suspected of being involved with illegal activity. This is a civil action the government brings against the property itself and not necessarily against the property owner. Asset forfeiture is neutral of any criminal proceedings, and it is not a form of punishment. While forfeiture and seizure laws are generally used for enforcement of drug laws, they may apply to all types of property such as equipment, cars, real property and accessories. In some cases, seizure of cash is also possible.
When Can Your Property Be Seized?
Asset forfeitures come in 2 main forms: criminal and civil forfeiture. In general, criminal forfeiture occurs when the property owner has criminal charges or has been convicted of a crime, and there is a convincing connection between the criminal activity and the asset or property. On the other hand, civil forfeiture involves charges that are frequently brought against the asset itself rather than the property owner.
No matter the type of asset forfeitures, the government or law enforcement agency must show valid cause to seize your asset. However, as earlier discussed, no criminal conviction is required for the federal government to seize your property. However, the federal government is required to prove that the asset seized has been strongly linked to a certain illegal activity.
What Can You Do if Your Property Has Been Seized?
If your assets or property is seized by the federal government, you may feel overwhelmed and scared. Most people don’t have experience with civil forfeiture or search and seizure until it happens to them. Once you have received the forfeiture notice, you will have a limited time to respond. Depending on the type of forfeiture claim you are involved in, many procedures and deadlines may apply. These instances can be terrifying and disorienting. Due to this, it is vital to speak with legal professionals. Fortunately, a skilled civil forfeiture attorney can help protect your rights and properties.
How Can A Civil Forfeiture Attorney Help?
When your property is seized, you may need the help of a civil forfeiture attorney to get justice. Many people who are in this situation may not know how to get their property back. Many people are afraid that they may face criminal charges if they attempt to recover their property or asset. If you have experienced the asset forfeiture process, a reputable civil forfeiture attorney can help. However, not every attorney has the experience to take in government agencies or law enforcement. A reputable civil forfeiture lawyer such as Bret W. Schmidt has a lot of experience reclaiming clients’ seized assets.
Bret W. Schmidt is a well-recognized civil forfeiture attorney representing clients across the United States whose assets or property have been seized by the federal government. Contact us today if your asset or property has been wrongfully taken, and allow us to help you protect your property rights.