Federal Crimes and Asset Forfeiture

Federal Defense Lawyer

For the state or the federal government to take possession of your assets through criminal forfeiture, you must first be convicted of a crime. Following a criminal conviction, if the state or the federal government can prove that your property helped to facilitate the crime or had a significant relationship to the crime, then the judge may order you to forfeit your property to them. For example, if a judge finds that a person convicted of trafficking illegal drugs used his or her car to transport the drugs, then the judge may require the defendant to forfeit his or her car to the state.

More likely though, the state or the federal government will attempt to confiscate your assets through the process of civil forfeiture. In essence, they sue the property itself instead of suing you. In civil actions, the government must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that your property is subject to forfeiture because of its involvement in a criminal activity. Using the same example as above, the owner of a car may not have been convicted of trafficking illegal drugs, yet the government may still sue the car itself in a civil action in order to require the owner to forfeit the car to the government. Another way the federal government may attempt to forfeit your property is through an administrative forfeiture. In this process, a federal agency may require forfeiture of your property if it can show by probable cause the property's involvement in a crime. This process does not require any type of judicial involvement. If you are facing asset forfeiture after being charged with a crime, an Atlanta federal defense lawyer can provide you with representation that may help you avoid the loss of your most prized possessions and assets.

Asset Forfeiture Claims

Under state and federal law, time is of great importance in regards to asset forfeiture. Failure to respond or challenge a forfeiture claim made against you can result in the permanent loss of your property. In Georgia, you have 30 days to respond to a claim made against your property and in a federal procedure you would have 20 days. Thus, a forfeiture claim demands your immediate attention. At The Law Offices of Howard J. Weintraub, P.C., we have represented individuals in a large number of cases that involve asset forfeiture, including those involving white collar crimes and drug crimes, and we understand that swift and aggressive action is needed in such cases. We can provide you with legal support in your federal criminal case that is designed to reduce or eliminate your charges, and thus the danger of losing your assets to the state or government.