White Plains Asset Forfeiture Defense Attorney
Defending Clients throughout NYC, Westchester County & Surrounding Areas
When the federal or state government seizes your property, the process of re-obtaining ownership can be long and complex, rife with time limits, court proceedings, and red tape. Forfeiture is the process by which the government attempts to take ownership of your seized property. Many times, assets are seized as evidence for a criminal case or criminal prosecution; however, there are many instances of law enforcement agencies seizing cash, assets, and other property without any type of warrant or proof of criminal wrongdoing. This unwarranted seizure can be especially frustrating when you must now go to great lengths to recover property that is rightfully yours.
Contact us online or call us today at (914) 292-3557 to speak with one of our skilled asset forfeiture defense attorneys in White Plains.
At Portale Randazzo LLP, our White Plains asset forfeiture defense lawyers understand the huge imposition that government seizures present in your life and are well-versed in the procedural demands of asset forfeiture. Whether you have been the victim of criminal asset forfeiture or civil asset forfeiture, the assistance of an asset forfeiture attorney is imperative to recovering your belongings before time runs out.
Criminal Asset Forfeiture
When property is seized as part of a criminal asset forfeiture, it means illegal activity allegedly took place and law enforcement agencies are now seizing the proceeds that they believe the defendant acquired as a result of the alleged crime. In this case, the defendant’s criminal case must be resolved before the asset forfeiture is dealt with. It is important to note that even if the defendant is found guilty of illegal activity, the government may only seize property that was tied to criminal conduct. Therefore, the government is not entitled to any property linked to charges the defendant was acquitted of. Only after a defendant’s criminal case is resolved by a plea agreement, dismissal by court, or non-guilty trial verdict, can litigation on their asset forfeiture begin.
Civil Asset Forfeiture
Civil asset forfeiture differs from a criminal forfeiture because it can proceed independently of any criminal case. Furthermore, a person does not even have to be arrested for the government to seize property. Unlike criminal asset forfeiture, the seizure of civil assets that are allegedly tied to illicit activity does not have to be proven without a reasonable doubt to be considered evidence of wrongdoing. The burden of proof in a civil case is significantly less than in a criminal forfeiture, so assets seized are much more likely to become government property.
Therefore, the civil asset forfeiture process does not begin in the courts. It starts with whatever agency seized your assets, such as the FBI or DEA.
After the agency is identified, the following should occur:
- The government agency will send a Notice of Seizure to you within 60 days of the asset seizure, detailing the procedures for making a claim.
- Your attorney will send a notice of claim or petition for remission to start the legal process of recovering your property. This step is time-sensitive, so it is pivotal to contact an asset forfeiture attorney early on. If a notice of claim or petition for remission is not sent in a timely fashion, you risk losing your property indefinitely.
- Your attorney will communicate with the seizing agency’s attorney to help assess whether a settlement is possible. The possibility of a settlement depends on many factors, such as if you are the target of a criminal investigation or whether the basis for seizure is tied to criminality.
- From here, your attorney will help you decide the best course of action: Abandon the claim, reach a settlement, or proceed to judicial court.
- After these steps are completed, either a settlement will be negotiated with the government, or litigation for a trial will begin.
Consult with an Asset Forfeiture Defense Attorney in White Plains
Having your property taken by the government can result in a long and confusing process of asset recovery that may be futile if the proper claims are not filed on time. This process can be frustrating and disheartening, especially if your seized assets had no ties to criminal wrongdoing. At Portale Randazzo LLP, our asset forfeiture lawyers provide defense when your assets have been seized, and we work to help you regain your property.
If you have had your assets seized by the government, contact our White Plains office at (914) 292-3557 to receive guidance and support in your case.