Forfeiture is a practice that allows law enforcement to transfer assets, cash, cars, homes, and many more from private citizens to the government. This practice destroys the heart of justice and fairness in our system and turns the fundamental principle that a victim is innocent until proven guilty on its head.
What is Civil Asset Forfeiture?
Civil asset forfeiture laws let the police seize property, cash, or car if they believe it’s linked to criminal activity. The law enforcement agency is not required to file charges or establish crime in these cases before seizing property. There is no limit to what the police can seize, unlike criminal asset forfeiture, in which property is forfeited only after a criminal conviction. Police are only required to show evidence suggesting the seized asset or property was involved in crime or wrongdoing.
The property seized is sold at auction, with most proceeds going into the police department’s account. However, state laws vary in this regard; some states in the US allow 100% of the seized asset to be used for law enforcement agencies, while others allocate the proceeds for other purposes.
Law Guiding Federal Civil Asset Forfeiture
When investigating a crime in the US, the Drug Enforcement Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and other agencies use civil forfeiture laws. The Supreme Court has upheld the legal authority for these actions.
Under federal law, the government has 60 days to send written notice to the property or asset owners, although courts often grant deadline extensions. Suppose the owner of the seized property sends a claim to the agency. In that case, the government has 90 days to get a criminal indictment for forfeiture or file a formal civil complaint against the seized property. The government agency is required to release the property if they fail in both actions.
Law Guiding State Civil Asset Forfeiture
State laws concerning civil asset forfeiture differ from one state to the other and are subjected to changes. Two attributes defining these laws are the proof needed for seizure and how the proceeds are used. Texas’s civil asset forfeiture law lets law enforcement officials take and keep property they believe was used to perpetrate a crime.
When dealing with Civil Asset Forfeiture in Dallas, it’s essential to act fast. The police officer has 30 days to file a lawsuit after they have seized property or assets. A civil action is not taken against the asset owner but rather the property itself. The court will serve the property owner with a lawsuit and must file an answer to challenge the asset forfeiture within a stipulated time. It would help if you beat the deadline to get your property back.
Need A Civil Forfeiture Attorney in Dallas? Contact Bret W. Schmidt Criminal Defense Attorney
It can be infuriating when the police take something valuable to you. Our civil asset forfeiture lawyers can protect your right if you believe your property was wrongly taken from you in Dallas. Contact us today at 214-526-1100 for a free consultation.