When a motor vehicle has been used in the commission of a crime, it can be forfeited. This means that it can be seized. As a matter of fact, any piece of property can be seized if it is believed to have been used in a criminal act. Your home, your money and other forms of property suddenly become government property. If you don't do what you can to get your forfeited items back, then they can be sold in a government auction after a certain amount of time has passed.
Vehicle forfeiture is one of the most common forms of forfeiture in Minnesota and the seizure of vehicles is increasing. If any of the following occurs, then a vehicle can be seized from the owner:
- The car was used in the commission of a crime, such as DUI, or the defendant doesn't appear for a trial, whether it was traffic-related or not.
- A person is pulled over in a traffic stop with a blood alcohol concentration of .20 or more.
- A person is driving with a canceled driver's license.
If you lose your vehicle, it is imperative you are able to recover it so that you can drive to and from your job, drive to the store, transport your children and so much more. This is why you need an experienced attorney to help you get your vehicle back.
Examples Of Forfeiture
There are instances in which property other than vehicles may be forfeited. Here are some examples:
- A white collar crime, such as embezzlement, could result in frozen assets if the court has reason to believe those assets were acquired illegally.
- Drug trafficking or racketeering could result in home forfeiture if it is believed the home was used in the crime.
- Clothing, televisions, computers and other forms of property can be seized if it is believed those items were stolen.
- If you have been accused of identity theft, credit cards and other identity items may be seized.
Once taken, you will have to fight to get these items back. Any hearings or your trial may take place long after the time period to reclaim your items has passed. You will need to request a hearing.
Forfeiture cases are not a part of your criminal case. Forfeiture is a civil matter, so that means your case will be heard in civil court. The state's burden of proof is not as strict as it is in a criminal case, so your attorney will need to work hard for you in order to prove that the items were yours or that you need the items. For instance, not having your car to travel to and from work could cause you to lose your job and have a negative financial impact on your family. The same applies to any frozen assets. If your assets are frozen, your family could suffer. But even if you are able to regain your items through civil proceedings, that does not mean your civil case will help your criminal case.
Minneapolis Criminal Defense Lawyer And Attorney
If your vehicle or other property has been forfeited, you do have the right to get it back. You can't, however, do this on your own, due to the fact the legal system needs to be strategically navigated by someone who has experience doing so. It is ideal you have an attorney by your side to advise you, to work on your behalf and do everything possible to get your property back. Call us today at 612-332-2000 or fill out our contact form for your free case evaluation.