Many people are surprised to learn that their property can be forfeited if they are suspected of engaging in criminal activity such as drug sales of other drug crimes. Vehicles, money and other personal assets can be taken by police if the assets are somehow linked to suspected criminal activity. What makes things worse is that you could be completely innocent, and yet your assets will still be forfeited to the police under Georgia forfeiture laws.
There are two types of asset forfeiture in Georgia: criminal asset forfeiture and civil asset forfeiture. Both are unfortunate and can leave a person without his or her property. Criminal asset forfeiture requires that the property owner be charged with a crime, while civil asset forfeiture does not require that the property owner be charged with a crime. His or her property could merely be tangled up in suspected criminal activity in order to be seized by police. Police can later sell civil assets that have been forfeited to generate revenue.
It is possible to file a motion to get your assets back. If you want to fight to get your assets back, you must take action quickly as you only have thirty days to try and get it back. If you do not take action within that thirty days to get your assets back, they will be forfeited to the State of Georgia. Many people do not take any action to get their assets back from the police out of fear that law enforcement will retaliate against them somehow.
In order to get your property back, you will first have to preserve your right to the property by making a claim to it. You will receive a notice concerning the property, and that the property is subject to Georgia forfeiture laws. You must send in a response by certified mail within 30 days of receipt of the notice. You can also send in your response via return receipt requested or specified overnight delivery. You must then prepare a claim and sign it under penalty of perjury attesting to your ownership interest in the property. Your claim must lay out the facts surrounding the property and must detail why the property should not be subject to Georgia forfeiture law. Once your claim is prepared, you must send the claim to the specific police agency who took your property in the first place. You must also send a copy of your claim to the state District Attorney in charge of your case.
Next, your asset will face an administrative legal action to determine whether the asset was involved in any way in the alleged criminal activity. If it can be shown by a preponderance of the evidence standard that your asset was related to the alleged crime, then it is unlikely that you will get your asset back. Instead, your asset will be forfeited to the State of Georgia.
If your property was seized under the presumption that your property was involved in a crime, you should contact the lawyers at a forfeiture law firm in Atlanta. These cases can be tricky, and there are very specific rules that must be followed in preparing a claim, and precise timelines that must be adhered to if you want to get your property back. When you need forfeiture help in Atlanta, you should contact the lawyers at Thomas, Webb, and Willis.
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Many people are surprised to learn that their property can be forfeited if they are suspected of engaging in criminal activity such as drug sales of other drug crimes.
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