Experienced Civil Asset Forfeiture Attorney in Marietta, GA
Looking for a civil asset forfeiture attorney in Marietta, GA? Our expert lawyers can help you protect your assets. Contact us today for a consultation.
Civil Asset Forfeiture Lawyer
Have the police seized your assets, and you are worried you could lose them? Do not worry because a civil asset attorney can help.
Civil asset forfeiture occurs when law enforcement officers seize your valuable property or cash on suspicion that it has been used for criminal purposes. A civil asset forfeiture lawyer helps in recovering confiscated assets.
Sometimes the system is unfair and seizes property and cash during traffic stops without a warrant. A civil asset forfeiture lawyer can help you fight civil forfeiture if your assets have been wrongly taken.
At our law firm, we have experienced attorneys who specialize in civil asset forfeiture. We can help you protect your assets from being wrongfully seized by the government due to money laundering or other criminal activities. We will use our legal experience to ensure your assets are returned quickly and efficiently.
Federal Government Asset Forfeiture Laws
The federal government allows forfeiture of property belonging to Americans under specific circumstances. There are three types of federal asset forfeitures: criminal forfeiture, civil judicial forfeiture, and administrative forfeiture.
If law enforcement suspects that your property is used in criminal activity, such as concealing the sale of illegal drugs, it could be seized, including your car, cash, and other property. However, a criminal conviction is required for a criminal forfeiture proceeding under federal law. Criminal forfeiture is limited to the property and any proceeds earned by the defendant’s illegal activity.
Unlike criminal forfeiture, a criminal conviction is not required for civil judicial forfeiture. However, federal authorities have to prove in court that the property they seek to forfeit was linked to criminal activity by a preponderance of evidence.
For administrative forfeiture, personal property can be forfeited without filing cases in federal courts, although many procedural requirements must be met.
But, when it comes to the civil asset forfeiture law in Georgia, there is a concern that the state allows for the seizure of private property with limited due process and little concern about the individual’s guilt or innocence.
Georgia Asset Forfeiture Laws
Under Georgia law, the police may seize your property if they have probable cause to believe it is being used for criminal activity. They may also seize evidence on your person for use in court.
Georgia law requires that property seized meets a specified minimum adoption threshold. State seizure needs the property to be worth at least $250. Unless it is specially equipped for concealing or promoting criminal activity, a car must be at least $2,500 in value.
Georgia has some of the strictest civil forfeiture laws in the US. However, it requires law enforcement agencies to make a report of seized property and outline how they used the property.
Probable Cause and Civil Forfeiture
Probable cause is a reasonable suspicion that a person has committed a crime. The Fourth Amendment requires police to show probable cause before making an arrest, conducting a search, or obtaining a warrant.
To confiscate seized property, a law enforcement officer must have probable cause. It prevents officers from taking civilians’ property based on their judgment, which might be flawed.
However, they do not need probable cause if you allow them to search your premises. They can use any incriminating evidence they find against you in court.
Police officers do not need the warrant to search and seize illegal items found in plain sight. They also don’t need a warrant for stop and frisk and at DUI checkpoints.
Consult an experienced attorney familiar with Georgia civil forfeiture laws if your property has been seized. If your lawyer can prove an unlawful search and seizure, they can move to dismiss your case and have your property returned to you.
Can the Police Confiscate My Property Without a Criminal Conviction?
Georgia law does not require police departments to pursue criminal charges after seizing your assets. However, you need to prove that you did not use your property to abet a crime.
Seizure of property leaves most citizens in a vulnerable position. They must cover the cost of proving their assets were not used to aid criminal activity. It can be especially difficult for individuals with low incomes.
Talking to an experienced attorney could help you provide proof your property was not used for criminal activity.
Unreasonable Search and Seizure
The system is not always fair. Sometimes, the police and prosecutors take innocent people’s money and property. Most of these seizures occur based on traffic stops or civil actions, most of which are illegal.
Law enforcement officers have used civil forfeiture laws to circumvent the Fourth Amendment. They are not required to initiate criminal charges following seizures, so the laws “allow” them to do this.
Most of the time, cash and property seized fund the offices that take them, so the process is only partially objective. The DOJ’s Forfeiture Fund collects and auction property seized through civil forfeiture. The government distributes these proceeds to federal and state agencies, including local jails and police departments.
If you believe your property has been seized unlawfully, contact an experienced civil asset forfeiture lawyer in Marietta. Your attorney can help build a strong defense and prove that your property was seized without legal justification. With the help of a seasoned attorney, you may be able to recover your assets and get back to your life.
Can Seized Assets Be Returned?
Your seized property can be returned if you prove it was not used in criminal activity. However, providing such proof could be difficult, especially for persons with low incomes, due to the cost of the legal process. If your property is used as evidence in court, the state can hold it until the completion of the case.
To recover your property, you must file a civil forfeiture action. You have 30 days from the time of notice to contest the forfeiture. If you do not fight forfeiture during this period, you will forfeit your property to the police.
How Can a Civil Asset Forfeiture Attorney Help?
Talking to a lawyer with extensive experience in Georgia civil forfeiture laws would be essential to help you navigate the justice system.
If you involve an attorney, you will likely have better outcomes in your asset forfeiture case. Our experienced attorneys will help you know your options in your asset forfeiture case.
A civil asset forfeiture lawyer can represent you and help you regain your property and cash. They will also help you file the necessary paperwork to initiate the process of recovering your possessions. Most importantly, a civil asset forfeiture attorney will outline options at your disposal and advise you on the right course of action to take.
Contact a civil asset forfeiture attorney in Marietta, GA. The Waltman Firm has knowledgeable lawyers who are attentive and offer personalized services to their clients.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Happens to Property Seized in Georgia?
If you do not try to regain your property, your assets become federal and state property. The federal government redistributes the property between federal and state agencies. It is your responsibility to make efforts to reclaim your property.
Will I Face Criminal Charges After My Assets Are Seized?
The law does not require law enforcement to pursue criminal charges. They can seize your assets without accompanying criminal charges.
How Long Do I Have to Wait to Get My Assets Back After the Police Have Seized Them?
You have up to 30 days to begin the process of reclaiming your assets. A civil asset forfeiture lawyer could help you initiate the process to get your assets back.