OKLAHOMA CITY ASSET FORFEITURE ATTORNEY
FIGHTS FOR RETURN OF SEIZED PROPERTY
When your property is stolen, you call the police. But what do you do when the police take your property? Well, you have come to the right place.
Every day law enforcement seizes the property of individuals under a process called civil asset forfeiture. People who have assets seized by law enforcement frequently do not know how to get them back, or they fear criminal charges for trying.
If law enforcement seizes your property or assets, we may be able to help. Few attorneys have the level of experience with civil asset forfeiture laws that are offered at the Cincotta Law Office. Here, David A. Cincotta is an attorney with extensive experience in this field.
If law enforcement seizes your money or property under the theory that it was contraband, used in a manner that subjects it to forfeiture, or proceeds derived from illegal activity, contact David immediately. He represents clients in civil asset-forfeiture cases throughout the state and has a tremendous amount of experience in these quasi-criminal, civil asset-forfeiture cases. David knows what it takes to defeat the state's attempt to forfeit cash or other seized assets.
WHAT IS CIVIL ASSET FORFEITURE
Civil Asset forfeiture is an often ruthless legal process through which the state or federal government seeks an order from the court forfeiting private property from citizens. It is often filed in a separate proceeding from any criminal case. The government uses civil asset forfeiture to permanently deprive people of their assets while the government benefits financially from said assets. Strict deadlines must be met to challenge the government's attempt to seize property. No matter whether you are an innocent owner of property seized from someone else or adamantly deny the state's allegations regarding the source or use of your property, you must act quickly to assert a claim for the return of the property. If you do not, you may lose the ability to claim it in the future. Rely upon David's experience in handling thousands of asset-forfeiture cases to protect your rights and assert a defense that provides you the best opportunity to receive your property back.
Numerous federal and state statutes authorize the government to forfeit assets. These statutes allow the government to forfeit property by establishing that a link or nexus exists between the seized assets and alleged illegal activity. Often for the government to forfeit your property, the government merely needs to meet the low burden of establishing probable cause or a preponderance of the evidence that a link or a nexus exists. Both Oklahoma and the federal government have a variety of statutes to seize and forfeit property.
THE RIGHT ATTORNEY CAN HELP DEFEND YOU IN
CIVIL ASSET FORFEITURE CASES
To successfully protect your assets, you need the assistance of an experienced asset forfeiture attorney. It takes skill and experience to defend these types of cases effectively.
A common misconception is that forfeiture of assets affects only those convicted of crimes. Forfeiture proceedings are often filed without the government filing any charges or without an arrest. It is risky to call the prosecutors or the police on your own to discuss or negotiate your case. If the government files forfeiture proceedings, it likely believes you are involved in criminal activity. The government can use anything you say to law enforcement against you in court.
Depending upon the facts of your case, you may have a strong defense. Various viable defenses exist in Oklahoma and under the federal law. Your defense might consist of the third party "innocent owner" defense if you can show that you own the property (either solely or coowner with the person who misused it), and you were not aware, and had no reason to know, your property would be used unlawfully. Even when the innocent owner defense is not applicable, you still have rights and might be able to win your case. Other possible defenses include a constitutional argument that the forfeiture violates the excessive fines clause of the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution – i.e., the value of the forfeited property is disproportionate to the crime alleged. Another defense might be based on the evidence you provide, such as financial records demonstrating that the assets are derived from a legal source.
OBTAIN LEGAL ADVICE FROM THE RIGHT ASSET FORFEITURE ATTORNEY
If the government seizes and seeks to forfeit your property, seek legal advice early from an asset forfeiture attorney who has experience in handling asset forfeiture cases and who is not afraid of challenging the government's claim in federal or state court. The forfeiture process has crucial deadlines, and the failure to timely respond and take the appropriate steps can be fatal to your ability to defend your rights in court. If your property was taken because of an alleged connection to a crime, David A. Cincotta will draw from his extensive background working with law enforcement agencies involved in the forfeiture of assets to work on the return of your property.
We offer free initial consultations at our Oklahoma City office, located near Quail Springs Mall. To discuss your situation with an experienced asset forfeiture attorney, please contact David A. Cincotta.