"Can you get me my money back?"
According to State and Federal forfeiture law, the State or Government has the right to seize any assets or property believed to be in connection with a criminal activity.
This means that police can legally take possession of your car, home, cash, jewelry, or other assets for as long as they want, even if you have not actually been charged with a crime.
For example, in a "marijuana grow house case," police may confiscate any of the following items related to the possession, manufacture, distribution, and/or sale of the marijuana:
Equipment used to distribute or produce the drug
The controlled substances/drugs themselves
Research products and records
Containers used to store the drugs
Monetary profits from the sale of drugs
Any vehicles used for drug distribution
Real estate (yes, your home!)
The Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act
In order to get the property back, a person in Florida would have to file a claim within 30 days of receiving notice of forfeiture proceedings, pursuant to the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act (Fl. Stat. sections 932.701-932.706). After 30 days, it may not be possible to fight to get the property returned. That's why it's in your best interests to call our offices early on.
Forfeiture is a very time-sensitive process, and there are viable defenses which may be available to you. One defense is the “innocent owner” exemption, which asserts that the owner of the property (remember our "marijuana grow house" example?) did not know that illegal activity was being conducted on the property.
How we can help
If the police has initiated forfeiture proceedings against you or a loved one, please call our 24-hour telephone number 305-461-1066 to set up an appointment and free consultation so we can assess your particular case and provide you with the best legal advice on how to proceed.
In forfeiture proceedings, we do this by:
Taking immediate action to challenge any seizures of property or other assets
Filing all court documents necessary to challenge the forfeiture
Locating and preparing witnesses who can support your case
Hiring forensic accountants and other experts who can prove that the funds used to purchase your property came from legitimate sources