As unfair as it may sound, the government can confiscate property under criminal forfeiture or civil forfeiture. Civil forfeiture is to seize property used in criminal activity, although charges have not been filed. When civil forfeiture is executed, the property owner loses all right, title and interest in the property to the government. Property that can be confiscated under these rules include:
- Proceeds gained as part of illegal activity
- Tools or instruments used to commit crime
Civil forfeiture is based upon the basic establishment of probable cause that the property was used to commit a crime. When such an action is brought against you for your property, the time to contest the forfeiture is limited. Property may be seized through execution of a search warrant, whether there are criminal charges or convictions, or not.
Since 1985, over $7 billion dollars in property has been forfeited to the federal government. State governments also seize property for cases, with Arizona being frequently and heavily criticized in the media for having very aggressive forfeiture laws.
Having an experienced Arizona forfeiture attorney on your side will possibly enable you to gain the return of your property. The risk involved includes the possibility of having to pay attorney fees for the government, in addition to other costs, should you lose your case. (more…)