If law enforcement personnel have a reasonably strong reason to believe that a person’s property is being used for a crime, or was involved in a crime, they have the right to mandate a civil asset forfeiture. This means that they have the right to confiscate the property to conduct a thorough criminal investigation.
Property can be anything that a person owns such as money, a vehicle, or similar assets. Once the asset has been confiscated it goes to law enforcement for their own use- such as to use as evidence of a drug crime in court- and a person may not be able to get it back, unless they can prove they were not guilty of the crime.
Statistics show that thousands of assets are seized by officers from residents in Florida every year. If a person is guilty or suspected of owning property that was in some way tied to illegal activity, this property can be seized. For instance, if a person was using their vehicle to transport drugs or other illegal substances around and they are caught, then these vehicles can be confiscated.
Another example would be if someone stole money from their workplace or committed illegal activity in their workplace. In this case, any money they made off that can be taken away as well. If a person spent the money that they made illicitly then the property they purchased with that money is also subject to these rulings and may be seized if deemed necessary by police officers.
What should I do if an officer confiscates my property in Largo, Florida?
It is important to note that officers are only allowed to confiscate the property in a criminal case once it is proven that a person convicted the crime. However, for civil asset forfeiture, a seizure is not dependent on a verified conviction, and not as much proof is needed for officers to confiscate the assets.
Some rules of forfeiture include:
- Non-monetary property can only be taken away if a person has been convicted of the crime
- A court must review if the reason for the forfeiture was reasonable within 10 days of the seizure
- Officers must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the property was part of illegal activity
Anyone facing asset forfeiture should call a criminal defense attorney in Largo, Florida as soon as possible to see what next steps should be taken to help them get their property back. The laws regarding asset forfeiture can be complex so a legal representative who has the required education and experience is the best individual to reach out to.
Talk to a criminal defense lawyer at the Law Office of Trevena Pontrello today.
Reach us at:
801 W Bay Drive Suite 509, Largo, FL 33770
Landmarks Located in the Wells Fargo Bank Building
Service Area Proudly Serving West Central Florida, including Belleair Bluffs and Largo
Phone (727) 581-5813