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What Is Civil Asset Forfeiture?

Civil asset forfeiture allows police officials to seize assets from individuals who are suspected of committing a crime. You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to have your property taken. The Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act states that law enforcement must have “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” that someone committed a crime, but law-abiding citizens can't prevent the police from taking their property, even if it's wrongful. Where does the money go? Usually, it goes to the police department's bank account.

Many critics believe civil forfeiture this provides an incentive for police offices to simply take money. Just think about a police officer’s motivation when it comes to forfeiture: a police officer stops a person and finds them in possession of what they think is "too much" cash. No crime is committed, and no arrest occurs, but the officer seizes the cash anyway because he thinks it's suspicious. If this situation were to occur, the local police can keep up to 80 percent of the money they seize.

Florida Forfeiture Issues

It's hard to imagine a more disturbing conflict of interest between honest police work and the desire to increase the department budget at the expense of law-abiding citizens. Many legal experts have concluded that it is an inherent conflict of interest because the agency that seizes money gets to spend it. It is no wonder that Florida forfeitures have increased in the past decade. In many cases, police officers are seizing property and disposing of that property without oversight. In Bal Harbour, a forfeiture network took in nearly 50 million dollars in a 3-year span.

What Should You Do If Florida Police Have Seized Your Assets?

Thankfully, Florida law protect property owners. If your assets have been seized from a Florida police officer, there is still hope. Our Florida forfeiture defense lawyers can help you through this challenging process. We can make sure that the police department bears the burden of proving that the money or property is related to criminal activity. Our firm takes forfeiture defense cases seriously. We often take these cases on a contingency basis, meaning that if you don't get paid, you don't owe us anything for our services. Don't delay—there is little time to act after the seizure of money or property before your rights to the property are waived.

If your money or property has been taken, please give us a call: (954) 543-1788.