Asset Seizures & Forfeiture in Criminal Cases

Was your property seized in Los Angeles, CA?

Federal and California forfeiture laws allow the government to seize personal property and assets believed to be connected to criminal activity. The police can take your house, car, boat, jewelry and cash without paying for it—even if you haven't been charged with a crime. They can keep your property for as long as they want.

If your property has been seized, you'll need to file a claim to try and get it back. Generally under California law, you will have 30 days to respond to a notice of seizure or notice of forfeiture proceedings. If you don't respond within 30 days, you may not have a chance to fight for the property that the government is threatening to take away.

Your Rights under California Law

California Penal Code Section 186 is called the "California Control of Profits of Organized Crime Act." Its objective is to deter crime by taking the profit out of it. Therefore, the government works to take anything that might have been used or obtained illegally. There are also over 100 forfeiture categories contained in federal laws, including those dealing with drug crimes, tax evasion, money laundering, forgery and pornography.

In particular, there are a number of forfeiture laws related to drug trafficking and cultivating drug plants, like marijuana, on a parcel of land. Defenses may include third-party "innocent owner" exemptions, meaning that the property owner did not know that the property was obtained illegally. Or, the owner of a rental property or land didn't know that a tenant was conducting illegal activity on the property.

The prosecutor in these cases would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the property owner was aware of the property's illegal nature. If your property has been taken by the government, or you've received a notice, you have the right to fight back. The same right applies if you didn't receive a notice, but saw it published in the newspaper. You must act immediately to make sure your rights are fully protected!

Property Subject to Forfeiture

All of the following are related to the manufacture, possession, sale and/or distribution of controlled substances and other drugs:

  • The controlled substances/drugs themselves
  • Equipment involved with production or distribution
  • Containers used to store the drugs
  • Records and research products
  • Vehicles/conveyances involved
  • Money to be furnished in exchange for drugs
  • Real property/real estate

The Right Defense Lawyer Can Make All the Difference

The Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys at Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners can provide aggressive representation in any type of forfeiture proceeding. You can rest assured that we will pursue all options to secure the best possible outcome by:

  • Immediately challenging any asset or property seizures
  • Filing the appropriate court documents to challenge the forfeiture
  • Hiring forensic accountants and other experts who can show that the money used to purchase your property came legitimate sources
  • Locating and preparing witnesses who can support your case

Contact a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer from Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners for a free consultation. You have no time to waste!