Asset Forfeiture Proceedings
Asset seizure is regarded as cruel and unnecessary as a criminal and civil penalty. Once used solely to punish drug crimes, it is now assigned for an array of offenses and can lead to everything you love being stripped away. If you are facing asset forfeiture as a penalty, you are likely worried about losing your possessions. At DeBruin Law, we recognize the unfairness and harsh nature of asset forfeiture. We know it can be imposed for a number of criminal and civil proceedings, even if the owner has not been charged with a crime. Call us at (517) 324-4303 to see if we can help in reclaiming your belongings.
Asset Forfeiture Defined
While the extent to which it is imposed varies by case, asset forfeiture involves the government seizing your business, vehicles, and any other belongings that they believe:
- Were obtained during or through a crime
- Were used to commit a crime
- May be used to commit a crime in the future
From the government’s perspective, taking someone’s possessions strips them of the ability to commit future offenses. This consequence is most commonly applied in cases involving drug trafficking, organized crime, and terrorism. Although this penalty may sound effective in theory, people often have their property taken when they have not been convicted of or even charged with a crime.
Criminal and Civil Asset Forfeiture
Asset forfeiture can be a part of civil and criminal proceedings. In a civil case, the item is seized simply because it was involved in a crime. Items seized in a criminal case, however, are taken because the current owner has been convicted of a crime. Depending on the circumstance, possessions can be seized for almost any reason. In addition, having items returned is almost impossible without the help of a Lansing criminal defense lawyer.
In a criminal court case, asset forfeiture can only be assigned as part of a criminal sentence. This means possessions can only be taken once someone has been convicted of an offense. In order to assign this penalty, the prosecution only needs to prove one thing: the possession was acquired near the time a crime was committed. It is for this reason that having a skilled defense attorney is crucial. The right Lansing criminal defense lawyer can prove that you obtained the item on a date nowhere near when the crime supposedly took place.
In civil cases, asset forfeiture has nothing to do with the person currently in possession of an item. Typically, actions are being taken against the item, meaning the item may have been obtained or used as part of a criminal act. In these proceedings, the prosecution need only prove that that the property was involved in a crime. For this reason, the item in question can be seized by the government without a charge or conviction against the item’s current owner.
How a Lansing Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help You
You may be in a situation in which you were falsely accused of a crime and now face asset forfeiture as part of a conviction. Perhaps your possessions are being taken as part of a civil case in which the item is believed to have been involved in a crime. Regardless of your circumstances, you do not deserve to have your possessions needlessly seized by the government. Take a moment to learn about Michigan criminal defense proceedings. If you are facing asset forfeiture for any reason, contact DeBruin Law Firm at (517) 324-4303 for a free consultation. Our experienced attorneys are well-versed in resolving issues for both criminal and civil proceedings. We will work tirelessly to ensure your rights and possessions are protected.