Asset Forfeiture & Property Seizure
Federal and Florida state forfeiture laws permit the government to seize personal assets and property if it is believed they can be linked to criminal activity. The state or federal government can take privately owned property such as homes, cars, boats, jewelry and cash without compensating the owners. Additionally, your property can be indefinitely confiscated. In order to try and retrieve your belongings you will have to file a claim, and you will need to act fast to make sure your rights are fully protected.
Generally under Florida law, you have 15 days to respond to a state notice of forfeiture of property and only 10 days in federal forfeiture cases to file a request for an adverse preliminary hearing. An adverse preliminary hearing allows you to fight for the return of your property. If you fail to respond to federal or state action within the strict time limits allowed, you could lose your chance to fight for the property the government is threatening to take away.
The state of Florida allows the criminal forfeiture of assets to deter certain drug crimes such as possession with intent to distribute, sales, trafficking, production and manufacturing. White Collar Crimes including Theft, Fraud, Money Laundering, Grand Theft, RICO and Conspiracy are also subject to asset seizure by police. Certain legal defenses can force the return of your property, including the following:
- The actual owner of the property is an “innocent owner,” meaning the real property owner was unaware the property was illegally obtained or had no idea illegal activity was taking place on their property.
- The forfeiture is excessive in relation to the alleged criminal activity.
- The law enforcement officer or agency lacked probable cause to seize the property in question.
The Villages Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can provide the aggressive representation you need in any type of forfeiture proceeding. We can pursue all possible avenues to make sure you receive the best possible outcome for your unique situation. We can assist you and your family in The Villages and everywhere in between Lake, Sumter and Marion counties by immediately challenging property or asset seizures, filing the necessary documents to combat government forfeiture, hiring forensic accountants and other appropriate experts to present clear and convincing evidence as well as interviewing witnesses that can support your case.
Contact The Villages Asset Forfeiture Attorneys & Property Seizure Lawyers online or call us at 352-369-5334 for a free consultation. We can provide you with the privacy and confidentiality needed to discuss your distinct forfeiture situation.