Asset Forfeiture Following Drug Convictions
A drug lawyer San Francisco CA residents recommend understands that the process of asset forfeiture can occur in two scenarios: when a defendant is convicted of a crime, or if a person is arrested or detained by law enforcement officers. Asset forfeiture is intended to “take the profit out of crime.” However, asset forfeiture, especially in civil forfeiture cases, has been criticized for punishing innocent citizens in order to provide funds for law enforcement.
Christopher F. Morales of The Morales Law Firm has defended clients against drug crimes and asset forfeiture since 1991. If you have been arrested, contact our office to find out how an experienced San Francisco drug lawyer can defend you against those charges. We can provide you with a case review at no charge.
What Is Asset Forfeiture?
Asset forfeiture is the taking of a person’s property by state or federal governments if the property is considered fruits or profit of illegal activities, or contraband. Contraband may include any illegal drugs seized during an arrest. The government can seize a person’s cash, cars, houses, and bank accounts if they believe that these assets are part of criminal proceeds. There are different kinds of asset forfeitures, the main ones being civil and criminal asset forfeiture. A drug lawyer San Francisco CA defendants trust may be able to limit what of your assets they are able to seize.
In the case of criminal forfeiture, the government seizes the defendant’s property after the defendant is prosecuted and convicted of a crime. Forfeiture proceedings after a criminal conviction are common in drug cases. In cases of civil forfeiture, a person’s property can be seized without the person being charged of any crime if the police suspect that the property is the proceeds of a criminal activity. The government has to give the owner of the property that is subject to forfeiture notice of a hearing on the appropriateness of forfeiture.
Under the law, the following property can be subject to forfeiture:
- Any funds used or meant to be used to procure, manufacture, deliver, or distribute any illegal drug;
- Any assets or property that can be characterized, directly or indirectly, as the proceeds of the sale of illegal drugs;
- Any property bought, directly or indirectly, using the proceeds of illegal drug sales; and
- All property used or intended for use, in committing certain drug crimes.
Once the property is seized and after a hearing determines that the property is to be forfeited to the government, the property is usually auctioned off at a public auction. The proceeds go into a fund to be distributed to various law enforcement groups.
The law aims to protect an innocent owner whose property is seized while in the possession of another person who is arrested for a drug crime. If the owner did not know of the defendant’s actions, the owner may be able to reclaim his property. It may be necessary to hire the services of a drug lawyer San Francisco CA community members rely on to make sure that law enforcement acts lawfully. In addition, any money a defendant uses to pay attorney’s fees in relation to representation in a criminal proceeding is not subject to forfeiture either.
Contact a Drug Lawyer San Francisco CA Locals Turn To
If you or someone you know is arrested for a state or federal drug crime, contact an aggressive and experienced drug lawyer in San Francisco CA immediately. Call Christopher F. Morales of The Morales Law Firm at 415-418-7420 today to set up a free consultation with a drug lawyer San Francisco CA offers.