What To Do During Civil Asset Forfeiture | Pasco County
You don’t have to be arrested or even convicted for your property to be seized by police. There only needs to be suspicion that your car or home is being used in an illegal manner, such as for drug trafficking or grow/lab purposes, for them to take it away from you.
Having Your Belongings Seized by Law Enforcement
In addition to your house and auto, other properties that are up for grabs are your cash, firearms, and your business. Agencies that can practice civil asset forfeiture on Federal and State levels include the FBI, FDA, IRS, United States Marshals, highway patrol, and local police.
Asset forfeiture is most commonly used for enforcement of drug, prostitution, and shoplifting laws. Once this has been done, it falls onto the owner to prove that their property was not being used illegally. This is obviously very difficult to do without an attorney. Additionally, you may have to pay a non-refundable bond of up to 10% of the value of the property in question. This proves impossible for people who have already had their cash taken away.
Forfeited property can be used by law enforcement in several ways. They can:
- Sell it at auction
- Use them (house or car) for undercover purposes
- Paint your car and convert it into a police cruiser
Ask For A Search Warrant Before Allowing Property Seizure
Most legal jurisdictions require that enforcement officers give the owner of seized property a receipt, as well as a copy of their search warrant. Records that are kept by police or other law enforcement agencies holding the property should identify you as the owner, the estimated value of what was taken, and describe the property adequately to later identify it.