Increasingly, state and federal prosecutors are utilizing criminal and civil statutes to seek the forfeiture of property allegedly involved in criminal activity, including automobiles, real estate, cash and jewelry. Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience to protect your property from government overreach and will vigorously defend your rights.
Forfeiture proceedings usually begin with the government seizing your property in some way. For example, the government may freeze your personal and/or business bank accounts. Law enforcement may seize cash in your possession during a search incident to arrest or during the execution of a search warrant. Law enforcement may seize other valuable property, such as jewelry or vehicles under a search warrant. The government may also place real estate, including your residence, in forfeiture proceedings. The scope of property subject to forfeiture is unlimited and the government need only allege probable cause to believe that the property was involved in illegal activity. The attorneys at Butters Brazilian are experienced with forfeiture proceedings in both federal and state courts and are ready to help you defend against government overreach.
Although sometimes brought as part of a criminal case, forfeiture proceedings are typically brought as separate in rem civil proceedings. That is, they are brought against the property itself. The first step for any person whose property has been brought into a forfeiture proceeding is to assert their interest. The mere fact that the property was in your possession or in your name does not create automatic standing to defend the property. In both federal and state forfeiture proceedings, persons are required to timely file a claim and/or intervene as a claimant in the proceeding. It is important to contact an attorney as soon as you become aware that a forfeiture proceeding has commenced. Any delay could result in an unwitting waiver of your rights to the property. If your property has been brought into a forfeiture proceeding, contact us immediately so that we can initiate these first steps before it is too late.
Once you have staked your claim, our attorneys have the experience you need to help you retake your property. Forfeiture law involves specific statutes and unique procedural rules. Hiring an attorney who is experienced with this nuanced area of law is critical to a successful outcome to your case. It is also important to have an attorney who is equally adept in the civil and criminal arenas because of the significant overlaps in forfeiture cases. An asset forfeiture case can involve both a motion to suppress (criminal in nature) as well as depositions and motions for summary judgment (civil in nature). Our attorneys have that experience. You can take comfort that our attorneys will defend vigorously and with your best interest in mind.