In addition to the criminal penalties associated with some crimes, the police can also execute a civil forfeiture. Civil or Asset forfeiture is a term used to describe the confiscation of assets by the State, which are either the proceeds of crime or the instrumentalities of crime, and more recently, terrorism.This allows police to seize property before a conviction, and in some cases before charges are filed. This is completely separate from the criminal proceeding, and one does not necessarily have bearing on the other.
Unfortunately the civil forfeiture has a lower standard and the police can keep a car, property, or money with very little evidence of a crime. There are time limits on when they must have a hearing and how long they can seize the property. You should contact an experienced attorney today to help you through the civil forfeiture action.
The government is allowed to seize the property under a theory that your continued possession of the item is a public nuisance. They can then seize the assets, and in many cases hold onto them for an indefinite amount of time without a hearing or any ability to challenge its seizure and impending forfeiture. Reaching the Detective can be difficult and many times they will try and deter you until the hearing which can be as long as 90 days away.
These obstacles can make this a very difficult situation. Having an attorney can help you navigate the process. It can also create a buffer between you and the police that can, in some cases, lead to a quicker resolution of the situation.
For a free initial consultation with Fuicelli & Lee, PC, send us an e-mail or call 303-355-7202.