Phoenix Civil and Criminal Forfeiture Attorney

What happens if you’re accused of a serious offense, such as mortgage fraud, drug distribution or health care fraud? Most people are aware these types of charges carry serious consequences that often include hefty fines and significant jail time, but did you know that if you are charged with these and other serious offenses, you could actually lose all of your property? The government, both state and federal, can confiscate your private property, including bank accounts, other financial assets, houses, vehicles and much more, leaving you with no way to pay for the representation you need to fight the charges in court. If you are wrongly accused, this can be a major problem. You need to be able ot work with a Phoenix civil and criminal forfeiture attorney. It’s important to act quickly to ensure everything is done within the required time. The good news is they can often help you with your case, even if you don’t have the means to pay at the current time because all your assets have been seized.

What Can Be Seized and Why

First and foremost, it’s important to understand what property can be seized and why. In general, anything you own can be removed from your possession if you are accused of a crime that is associated with financial gains, such as drug distribution and white collar crimes. Your assets and other property is likely to be seized if the property or assets are allegedly obtained from the money that came in from committing said crime or if the property is suspected to have been used to commit the crime, such as a car to drive to and from locations or a home from which you did your business. Civil cases are often treated more lightly than criminal cases.

Civil Asset Forfeiture

Originally, civil asset forfeiture was created in order to stop major drug dealers and to remove the property they likely purchased with the gains they made in this area. However, as time has gone on, the government has begun using this process for other crimes that involve financial gain in order to discourage individuals from taking part in them. This means there are more cases where property is wrongfully seized. Arizona’s law requires the government to alert individuals about the forfeiture before it takes place. This grants individuals time to challenge the process, so they can hold onto their property and other assets. Unfortunately, the law doesn’t cover whether the state is allowed to hold onto the property during this process. This can create serious issues for those who will no longer have the financial means to hire an attorney.
One of the reasons for the increase in civil asset forfeiture is the financial gains the police department that seizes the property receives. In Arizona, they get to keep 70 percent of the proceeds for the forfeitures, which can be a significant amount of money that can be used to pay for any necessary overtime for officers, as well as new tools they can use to do their jobs. The good news is this practice has been addressed by the Arizona government, giving individuals a chance to petition for the return of their property, as well as establishing assistance so these individuals can hire a civil and criminal forfeiture attorney to stand by their side and help with the case. The bar for burden of proof has also been raised.
In many situations, the notice of forfeiture is served to you directly at the time of the seizure. In other instances, it may be delivered to you via certified mail. If you aren’t there to sign for it or you miss it in the mail, you could be wasting valuable time. It’s important to contact an attorney immediately upon receiving one of these notices, so they can get started on your case right away. Time is of the utmost importance when it comes to the process of civil and criminal forfeiture, so it’s essential to act fast.

More About the Process

Once your property has been seized, it’s up to the state to bring forth the forfeiture action. However, they have seven years to do so. You have any time up until the point of forfeiture to demand your property is returned to you. If you haven’t been charged with a crime associated with the seizure, you have every right to demand the return of your property. In general, unless you aren’t facing charges, the request for the return of property will be ignored, but it can be an important piece of your case in the future, so it’s best to ask regardless.

Two Types of Notices

There are generally two types of notices that can be served in relation to a forfeiture. The Notice of Seizure for Forfeiture is a document that may be presented to you at the time the property is seized or it may be delivered by the state within seven years of the seizure. Once you receive this document or it is listed as attempted delivery via certified mail, the timer begins on the process and your time is limited to contact an attorney for help. The process must begin within 60 days or the state must return your property to you. However, first and foremost, you need to request a hearing on the matter within 15 days, which means you need to act quickly. This is an important step for challenging forfeiture and will give you insight into the probable cause the state will use in your case.
The second type of notice is called the Notice of Pending Forfeiture. You will not receive this if you are served with the Notice of Seizure for Forfeiture at the time of the seizure. This document is only required when the first notice is served via certified mail. This document requires a fast response from you. Be sure to check the date of service carefully, because this is your starting point, not the time at which it was received, which can vary dramatically, especially if you missed the mail for several days or perhaps longer.

About Filing Your Claim

It’s important to contact a civil and criminal forfeiture attorney immediately upon receiving a notice so you can get started on your case and take the appropriate steps before time expires. You only have 30 days to file a verified claim, which confirms you are the owner of the property in question. There are statutes this claim must follow so it’s critical to work with an experienced attorney on the matter to ensure the best results. This claim gives you the right to continue challenging the forfeiture and is a required element to the next step in the process.

Talk to Our Attorneys Immediately

If you are served with a Notice of Seizure for Forfeiture, you need to call us right away, so we can get started on submitting the proper documents and ensuring you can get your property back as soon as possible. We work with cases on both the state and federal level, giving you the peace of mind your property will get back into the right hands quickly. We understand the position this type of case puts you in and promise to work hard to help you get the results you deserve. It’s our goal to represent individuals whose property has been wrongfully seized and keep it from going into forfeiture. Contact us today to get started.

Customer Service Policy
We practice law the old fashioned way; by putting the client first. Our attorneys and support staff understand the importance of staying in frequent communication with our clients, and we are always willing to provide up-to-the-minute information on the status of our clients’ legal matters. We pride ourselves on offering personal service. We are small enough that you are a person to us, not just a case or file number.