Confiscation of Assets for Crimes
Under certain circumstances, the State may have reason to believe that your assets were used as instruments in the implementation of an illegal act or are actual proceeds of some type of criminal behavior. When this is the case, it is not uncommon for the State to then confiscate said assets through a process referred to as asset forfeiture. When it is thought that your assets were used as instruments of a crime, the belief often stems from the fact that they were allegedly used to facilitate a crime of some nature. In some cases this may result in the forfeiture of a car that is thought to have been involved in the transportation of illegal drugs. In recent years it has also become common for asset forfeitures to occur as a result of alleged terrorist activity.
If the state or federal government believes that your personal property was obtained through illegal means, such as the sale of drugs or money laundering, they can take steps to seize that property from you. At Martinian & Associates, we have represented many individuals facing asset forfeiture and we are well-versed in providing legal defense that aims to help our clients avoid such penalties. Acting quickly is the only way to ensure that your personal belongings are not permanently confiscated and your rights are not further violated in any way as the procedures of a criminal case play out on your behalf.
Your Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer
It is a common misconception that only those who have been arrested and charged with a crime are subject to asset forfeiture. The truth of the matter is that even those who have not been arrested or charged can have their property confiscated by state or federal agents, including money, vehicles and real estate. It only needs to be believed that those assets are tied to illegal activity or profit for them to be eligible for forfeiture. In such cases, the government is required to establish probable cause for attempting to seize a person's assets, while the property owner must prove on a "preponderance of evidence" that the property is not eligible.
Time is of the essence in forfeiture cases. If you have received a notice from the government regarding their intent to seize your property then it is strongly recommended that you act immediately. Failing to do so may result in a default, which allows the government to automatically come in and begin the acquisition process. An attorney can assist you in responding in a timely manner to a forfeiture notice, and may be able to help you avoid asset seizure altogether.