What is Forfeiture?

Forfeiture is an appropriation of assets brought on by the state. Most often the assets are believed to be tied to crime; drug related, terrorist activities, civil offences, etc. Some commonly seized properties in a forfeiture action include:

  • Homes
  • Businesses and business assets
  • Automobiles
  • Other types of real estate
  • And more.

In theory, forfeiture is used as a way to “stop crime in its tracks,” but asset seizure is often abused by law enforcement, raising the question: is forfeiture a legal incentive for officers to “police for profit?”

Eighty percent of forfeitures go uncontested in court — this statistic does not necessarily prove that all of the offenders are guilty, but rather how the system may be stacked against those accused. If you are a victim of forfeiture, please contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale Forfeiture attorney at your earliest convenience. Forfeitures are difficult to challenge, so it’s imperative that you have a skilled Florida criminal defense attorney on your side.

What’s the difference between Criminal and Civil forfeiture?

Criminal forfeiture

When the state takes away the property of a person who has been convicted of a crime. This property must be tied to the crime in some way. For example, if the offender is using his or her home to manufacture meth, the state can legally “confiscate,” or take away the home, as it was used in the commission of a crime. As a result, the criminal defendant loses his or her rights to the property.

Civil forfeiture

Unlike criminal forfeiture, the owner of the property does not need to be convicted of a criminal offence. While with criminal forfeiture an offender’s rights are protected under the constitution, with civil forfeiture the charges are brought against the property itself – NOT against the individual. Often these types of cases stem from a drug offense arrest. If the state believes that the property is contraband, it is legal for the state to confiscate it without convicting the defendant with any crime. In Florida, 85% of the proceeds that are confiscated go straight to law enforcement.

What should I do if I’m facing forfeiture?

No matter what the circumstances of your case are, it will help immensely if you contact a dedicated Fort Lauderdale criminal and civil forfeiture attorney. Forfeiture is a harsh punishment, and can be very difficult to challenge. Having an aggressive attorney who is willing to challenge the state may make a difference as to whether you get your confiscated property returned.

Contact the Law Office of Edward G. Salantrie

Florida criminal defense attorney Edward G. Salantrie has been a dedicated criminal and civil forfeiture lawyer in Fort Lauderdale for years. He would be honored to represent you, and ensure that your rights (and the rights of your property) are protected. Please reach out to him for more information, and for a free initial consultation. Call now: (954) 771-7455 or (954) 523-2100