The law of forfeiture is complex, and is rooted in ancient theories about property itself being “guilty.” Due to these odd theories, modern forfeiture laws make it fairly simple for the government to go after someone’s assets. One need not be convicted or charged with a crime before his or her property is seized and forfeited. In situations involving drugs all the government needs to do is provide some reasonable connection between the money and the drugs.
It takes an experienced lawyer to handle a forfeiture case. Forfeiture cases involve the ability to trace a connection between money and an illegal substance. It cannot always be certain that there is a connection, but often it is not difficult to come up with one that sounds reasonable. It takes true skill and sophistication to defeat the government’s attempt to force forfeiture.
There are many items that are eligible for forfeiture. The long and extensive list includes any cars, boats, airplanes, or other vehicle which is used or intended for use, as a container of any illegal substances or equipment, and raw material used in the making of the illegal substances. Of course, the illegal substances and the raw material required for their production are also subject to forfeiture.
In the area of drug-dealing, if the government believes that your car, boat, or airplane was used to facilitate the manufacture of, possession for sale, or sale of specific amounts of different drugs, that vehicle will be seized and forfeited. The laws are harsh, but they can be fought with some hard work by a qualified attorney.
All books, records, research products and materials, and any tapes or data, and devices that contain data that were used or intended for use in connection with the illegal substances may be seized.
All money, stocks, or any other thing of value that is furnished or intended to be furnished, by any person in exchange for controlled substances may be seized. These things may be seized so long as they can be traced back to an exchange for controlled substances.
Real property, including houses, is also subject to forfeiture. But, because more than one person generally lives in a house, the property will not be seized for forfeiture if it is used as a family residence or for another lawful purpose. Also, if two or more individuals own a home, so long as one of the individuals had no knowledge of the criminal activity, the property will not be forfeited.
To protect your property rights, it is best to get in touch with an experienced attorney as soon as you have knowledge of any investigative actions concerning your property. The process for forfeiture can begin before criminal charges are even filed against you. Act fast to try to save yourself from having to file appeals which can take years. The knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers of the Kavinoky Law Firm are unsurpassed in achieving the best possible results for their clients. Call them today for a free consultation.