Asset Seizures and Forfeiture in Criminal Cases in Los Angeles

Are you concerned about losing all of your property through seizure or forfeiture?

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. You'll need to file a claim to try and get it back.

Generally under California law, you 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 even have a chance to fight for the property 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 illegally used or obtained. In addition to California forfeiture law, there are 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 on a parcel of land.

Defenses may include third-party "innocent owner" exemptions, meaning that the property owner didn't know the property was illegally obtained. 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.

But you must act immediately to make sure your rights are fully protected! And, you must follow the best strategy and correct procedures to successfully address the property seizure.

Property Subject to Forfeiture

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

  • The controlled substances/drugs themselves
  • Raw materials and equipment involved with production or distribution
  • Containers
  • Records and research products
  • Vehicles/conveyances involved
  • Money or other "things of value" furnished or intended to be furnished in exchange for a controlled substance
  • Real property/real estate

The Right Forfeiture Attorney Makes All the Difference

The California criminal defense attorneys at Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners are experienced forfeiture lawyers who provide aggressive representation in any type of forfeiture proceeding.

You can rest assured that we will pursue any and all options to secure the best possible outcome for you and your family by:

  • Immediately challenging any asset or property seizures
  • Filing the appropriate court documents that challenge the government's forfeiture case against you
  • Hiring forensic accountants and other experts who can show that the money used to purchase your property came legitimate sources (also known as clear and convincing evidence)
  • Locating and preparing witnesses who can support your case

Contact a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney from Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners for a free consultation. We will meet with you and your family to privately and confidentially discuss the specific facts of your forfeiture situation.