Forfeiture of Civil Assets in Pennsylvania

If you have suffered through the seizing of your assets by the government as part of a Civil Asset Forfeiture case, you’re probably confused, angry, and wanting to fight back. State law states that the government can take the property of private citizens, even if you’ve done nothing illegal, simply because they think it was used in someone else’s crime spree. Depending on the value of the property they took, this can be anything from simply annoying to totally devastating. And, just because the government did it, doesn’t mean it was done in good faith, or even legally. Often, it’s no more than the cops stealing from you and getting away with it.

Worse, when your assets are seized in this manner, you don’t have many rights. Drug dealers and thieves who have been arrested have more than you do when you lose your property under a Civil Asset Forfeiture. This is because it’s a civil case, and you don’t have the same Constitutional protection of Due Process that criminal defendants have. It can be hard to know where to begin fighting when you’re in this situation. You want your property back, but your individual rights are not always clear.

Categories

Civil Asset Forfeiture cases come in two categories: seizure and forfeiture. Seizure is when the government takes your assets—your money, for example. Forfeiture is when the government transfers your title out of your name and takes it over, like with a business, boat, car, etc. They’re both purportedly legal when they are part of a civil case where the property in question is considered “derivative contraband” or “contraband per se.”

As an example, if you own a vehicle (car, truck, motorcycle, etc.) that was used by someone else in an alleged drug deal, the government can ask the court for the vehicle. They don’t even have to prove your guilt in the underlying charge. If they merely suspect that your assets were being used in the commission of an illegal act, they can take it. Once they do that, they have to file paperwork that allows them to seek the transfer of the title so that you forever lose ownership of the property.

If your assets are seized, you have the opportunity to prove that it was not part of an illegal act, or that it is against the law to own it to begin with, and get the property returned.

Seizure of Cash Assets

Taking people’s money is one of the biggest examples of our government overreaching. It’s perfectly legal for someone to keep large amounts of money in their houses, cars, and wallets. You can bury a million dollars in jars in your backyard, if you wish, or store $100,000 in a self-storage unit. It’s your money to do with as you please. However, the government often leaps to the conclusion that your large amount of cash came from drug deals. Sometimes there isn’t even evidence to back the claims up, only suspicion and conjecture.

You can fight back

It’s vital to your success that you don’t try to fight this kind of case on your own. Any missed deadline, unintentional move, or failure to specifically plead, even when you have the best of intentions, can result in the loss of your case—and your property. For the best outcome, you need an experienced attorney who understands the laws regarding Civil Asset Forfeiture.

When you’re facing the loss of your assets, you need a skilled lawyer with the determination to win your case. Sean Logue and his associates will walk you through the entire process. They are experienced and aggressive, with a winning record.

If you or a loved one are facing the loss of assets in or around the city of Pittsburgh, you will need an experienced criminal defense attorney. The Logue Criminal Defense team serves Pittsburgh, PA, and the surrounding areas, including West Virginia and Ohio. To get in touch and schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced Pittsburgh Criminal Defense lawyer from Logue Law Group, call us today at 1-844-PITT-DUI or (412) 389-0805. Or, you can contact us online.

Don’t wait to call! The longer you wait to hire an attorney, the more difficult it becomes for him or her to get a good outcome for you and your case. Call today!

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