Asset Forfeiture Attorney Providing Vigorous Defense for Those in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing and Throughout Michigan Accused of Drug Crimes
Asset forfeiture or seizure is a tactic used by law enforcement as a method of punishing those convicted not only of drug crimes, but any serious criminal offense. In Michigan, the laws regarding asset forfeiture have become more and more stringent over the years. The government may seize your business, home, vehicles, and other property that is deemed to have been obtained through proceeds from drug activity, or property believed to have been used to help or facilitate illegal drug activity such as manufacture or distribution. At Grabel & Associates, our Michigan drug crimes attorneys work vigorously to obtain the best possible result for our clients, and to protect your assets from seizure.
The government works aggressively to confiscate property believed to have been involved in any way with criminal activity such as drug crimes, and has many tools at their disposal that are used to accomplish this task. Even if you have not been charged with or convicted of a crime, your assets could potentially still be confiscated or seized in a civil proceeding. Asset forfeiture is heavily utilized by both state and federal law enforcement to enforce the "war on drugs," although its use has been highly debated and controversial. Opponents of asset forfeiture contend that many parties who are innocent of the crimes they are accused of have their property seized, with little chance of recovering it.
Criminal and Civil Asset Forfeiture
Originally designed to penalize individuals involved in organized crime and drug traffickers who worked on a large scale, asset forfeiture laws were initially meant to target individuals who got rich from the crimes they allegedly committed. However, in recent years asset forfeiture has become a way to get drug defendants to give over nearly all property of value; the government essentially wants all power to strip anything and everything of value from those who commit drug violations, regardless of how minor or major the offense actually is. In the year 2000 in the state of Michigan, the total worth of cash and property forfeited in criminal activity was an astounding $15 million.
Asset forfeiture is a procedure commonly used in situations involving terrorism, organized crime, and drug trafficking. Below are brief descriptions of criminal and civil asset forfeiture:
Criminal asset forfeiture - In criminal proceedings, property may be seized as part of the sentence for a conviction. The government only needs to demonstrate that the acquisition of the property occurred at about the same time that the crime took place; as the defendant, you must prove that this is not the case. Unlike the actual crime the government can show itself, which has to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, asset forfeiture is, by a preponderance of the evidence.
Civil asset forfeiture - In civil proceedings, actions are not against a defendant, but rather against the property itself. The government may seize property without a criminal charge against or conviction of the property owner. The Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000 made it so that instead of needing to demonstrate only probable cause that the property was involved in criminal activity as was the case prior to the Act, the burden of proof was raised to a preponderance of the evidence.
Contact an Aggressive Michigan Drug Crimes Lawyer Immediately
Under the law it is often possible to recover property which has been seized either through civil or criminal proceedings. For aggressive defense to action taken by state or federal governments, contact Grabel & Associates today. Providing skilled, effective defense for individuals accused of drug crimes or who have had their property confiscated is what we do best. We are available 24/7, so call us immediately at 1-800-342-7896.