Fort Lauderdale Seized Property Lawyer
Seized property and forfeiture is the process through which the government takes personal property from an individual because there is evidence that the property was used in a crime or was the acquired from criminal activity, namely drugs, racketeering, or gambling. It is used as a punishment, especially in organized crime. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, “The use of asset forfeiture in criminal investigations aims to undermine the economic infrastructure of the criminal enterprise.” It can also be used to compensate the victims of white collar crimes. While that may be an important tool in deterring organized crime, where does that leave the rest of us? An ordinary person cannot simply go about their life without their house if it was seized by the police. They can’t take their kids to school without their car, and can’t buy groceries if their money was taken from them. What do you do to take back your possessions if they have been unfairly confiscated by the law enforcement? The government does not have to amass a great deal of evidence for civil asset or property seizing. There only needs to be an alleged relationship between your property and an illegal act.
Some also believe that seized property and forfeiture is also employed, in part, as a money maker for local law enforcement, as the property is not returned if it is contraband or if the defendant is found guilty. What makes seized property and forfeiture even more questionable, is that it essentially punishes a person before they have had a trial, which goes against the Sixth Amendment: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed…” And, in some cases, seized property will not be given back to the defendant even if they have been cleared of their criminal charges. While a criminal forfeiture works on the premises that if the defendant is found guilty, then the assets will be confiscated, a civil forfeiture does not work that way. In a civil asset forfeiture, the property itself “committed” the crime. This premises is obviously ridiculous and heavily flawed, which is why you stand a good chance at regaining your property if you fight back with an attorney. Civil forfeiture not only does not require a conviction, but it also does not even require a charge against the person who owns the property. And, there does not need to be a great deal of burden of proof for the police to confiscate your belongings in a civil forfeiture.
Let Us Fight for Your Rights
While it all seems incredibly stacked against your odds, we will make sure that any lack of proof is exposed in order to reacquire your property. Contact Fort Lauderdale seized property lawyer Deric Zacca, P.A. in Fort Lauderdale today at 954-450-4848 to get started on taking back your rightful possessions.