Asset forfeiture is a tool used by law enforcement agencies against criminals and criminal organizations to deprive them of their ill-gotten gains through seizure of their assets.
History Of Asset Forfeiture
Asset forfeiture has its roots in the ancient practice by governments to defend against piracy through the seizure of vessels and contraband.
Today it is used to disrupt, dismantle, criminal organizations, drug dealers, terrorists, and white-collar criminals. However, many times the practice is abused by federal agencies and prosecutors as a way to apply pressure to a Defendant and persuade him/her to plead guilty.
Types Of Forfeiture
There are three types of forfeiture under federal law: criminal forfeiture, civil judicial forfeiture, and administrative forfeiture.
- Criminal Forfeiture:Criminal forfeiture is brought as part of a criminal prosecution of a defendant. It is an in personam (against the person) action and requires that the government indict the property used or derived from the crime along with the defendant. In criminal forfeiture, an individual has the right to contest the seizure through trial proceedings.
- Civil Judicial Forfeiture:Civil judicial forfeiture is a judicial process that does not require a criminal conviction and is a legal tool that allows law enforcement to seize property that is involved in a crime. Referred to as an in rem (against the property) action, it is an action filed against the property itself, rather than a person. In civil judicial forfeiture, an individual has the right to contest the seizure through trial proceedings. The government then must prove that the property facilitated criminal activity or represents criminal proceeds.
- Administrative Forfeiture:Most federal forfeiture cases are uncontested even if there is a related criminal case. Administrative forfeiture occurs when property that facilitated criminal activity or represents criminal proceeds is seized but no one files a claim to contest the seizure. Property that can be administratively forfeited includes merchandise prohibited from importation; a conveyance used to import, transport, or store a controlled substance; a monetary instrument; or other property that does not exceed $500,000.00 in value. Houses and other real property may not be forfeited administratively. Federal law imposes strict deadlines and notification requirements in the administrative forfeiture process. If the seizure is contested, then the U.S. government is required to use either criminal or civil judicial forfeiture proceedings to gain title to the property.
How Concepcion Law Can Help In An Asset Forfeiture Proceedings?
Concepcion Law stands with individuals facing property forfeiture proceedings and underlying criminal charges or civil forfeiture actions. Loss of property without compensation can be intimidating for individuals who are not familiar with the power of law enforcement agencies. Many property owners, lacking experience in law enforcement investigations, wrongly believe they can “talk their way out” of an asset confiscation. Often times, the owner will sacrifice his or her property by failing to seek legal counsel and at the same time may damage or compromise their legal case.
An effective forfeiture defense requires an experienced legal team with an understanding of the lengthy and complex process of property recovery and property loss prevention. Attention to time and detail are crucial skills in cases involving asset forfeiture and property confiscation.
The legal team at Concepcion Law concentrates on protecting your property while defending you on criminal or civil charges in state and federal courts. Generally, the asset forfeiture process begins with partial or entire confiscation of property. This can happen with or without a warrant, depending on the situation. If your property has been seized, including but not limited to:
- Currency (Cash);
- Bank and Investment Accounts;
- Jewelry (watches, diamonds, or other);
- Motor Vehicles;
- Real Estate;
- Gold; or
We will work diligently to challenge the government’s procedure in seizing the property. We can assist by establishing a separation of the property and criminal alleged activity, refuting testimony, examining constitutional violations, or any other technique required by your case. If your assets have been threatened or seized, whether criminally or civilly, contact the team at Concepcion Law today by calling [number] to schedule your appointment.