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What Types of Assets Are Commonly Seized?

Arlington Seized Assets Attorney

Texas Civil Asset Forfeiture Attorneys

You have probably seen examples of seized assets in the movies or on television, so you might not be surprised to learn that the police and other law enforcement agencies have the authority to seize assets or property that were obtained through illicit means or used to facilitate criminal activity. However, you might not realize that you could lose your seized property permanently, even if you never face criminal charges related to the property in question.

At the North Texas law firm of Spencer & Associates, we understand that federal and state laws allow for the seizure of assets that were obtained with "dirty money" or used to commit crimes. We also understand, however, that the police and other law enforcement groups sometimes get too aggressive with their seizures. When this happens to you, we are ready and willing to help you protect your constitutional rights and get your property back as soon as possible.

Trusted Texas Asset Recovery Firm

Under Texas law, law enforcement agencies are permitted to seize contraband. As you probably realize, contraband includes things such as controlled substances and drug manufacturing enterprises. However, it is important to understand that the law in Texas defines contraband as any property, including real property, personal property, tangible property, or intangible property, that was used to commit or facilitate a crime. This broad definition of contraband and the breadth of the civil asset forfeiture statute give the police the ability to seize property that has little or nothing to do with a criminal investigation.

Alleged contraband may include, but is not limited to:

  • Cash
  • Vehicles
  • Land
  • Buildings
  • Mobile phones
  • Computers
  • Drugs or illicit substances
  • Drug paraphernalia

When law enforcement seizes property that is believed to be connected to a crime, the state has 30 days to file a lawsuit in civil court regarding the alleged contraband. This civil action is filed against the property itself instead of against the property owner. The owner of the property is served with the notice of the civil action, and he or she must file an answer within the allotted time to challenge the forfeiture. A failure to respond is likely to lead to default judgment and a forfeiture of the property to the state.

If the property owner files a challenge, the case will move to a civil trial. At trial, the state must prove that the property is, in fact, contraband. While asset forfeiture cases may be related to criminal cases, they are handled in civil court instead of criminal court. This means that there are different rules and procedures, as well as a different burden of proof. To secure a conviction in criminal court, prosecutors must prove the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In order for the property to be forfeited after a seizure, the court must only find that the property was connected to a crime by a preponderance of the evidence—a much lower standard than the one used in criminal court.

Asset Seizure and Forfeiture

Attorney Arnold Spencer has the experience and background to handle asset forfeiture cases. He and his team fully understand the seizure and forfeiture process and are ready to help you claim and recover your property. Because such cases are handled in civil court, property owners are not entitled to an appointed public defender. If your property has been seized by law enforcement, it is important to call an attorney right away so that you do not miss your chance to get your property back.

The process of recovering seized assets can be complex and overwhelming, and a single mistake could lead to the permanent forfeiture of your property. If you are also facing criminal charges related to the case, things can be even more complicated. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees that a person cannot be "deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law." At our firm, we are committed to helping you protect your constitutional rights, including your rights to your property. We will work hard to get your assets returned to you quickly and without unnecessary complications.

Call 469-283-6126 Today

To learn more about our firm and how we can help you recover seized assets before they are forfeited, contact our office. Call 469-283-6126 for a free consultation and case review. We represent clients in Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Irving, Grand Prairie, Euless, Aledo, Mansfield, North Richland Hills, Dallas County, Tarrant County, and throughout North Texas.

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