Federal Criminal Laws on Forfeiture

United States laws aim to prevent people from profiting from criminal conduct. As a result, when money or property was acquired through unlawful activity, the proceeds from the crime can be confiscated.

There are federal laws allowing for both criminal and civil forfeiture, although civil forfeiture laws are very controversial because there have been many instances of people having property taken without clear proof a crime has been committed.

In many circumstances, forfeitures have not even been followed by criminal charges, and those who had their property taken have experienced challenges in getting their property returned.

If you find yourself accused of wrongdoing, you should be aware of the possibility of forfeiture under federal law. If your property is actually seized, it is also important to be proactive in responding to your property being taken. You will need to make sure you have an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer helping you to respond to accusations of wrongdoing or assisting you in fighting for the return of your property – and you need to know that your lawyer has a long and successfully track record of handling forfeiture claims.

LV Criminal Defense can help. Our federal defense firm has a deep understanding of federal forfeiture laws and we know the ins-and-outs of how federal officials handle forfeiture cases.

We can put our knowledge of forfeiture laws to work to help protect you, but the sooner you call us, the more effectively we can help you. To learn more about the ways in which our firm can assist you, give us a call today.

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Federal Laws On Forfeiture

Federal laws addressing civil and criminal forfeiture are found within 18 U.S. Code Chapter 46. The relevant part of the federal penal code contains seven statutes addressing different types of forfeiture, setting forth the rules for when forfeiture is possible, and explaining when bank records can be subpoenaed. The relevant statutes found within 18 U.S. Code Chapter 46 that relate to forfeiture include:

  • 18 U.S. Code section 981: Civil forfeiture
  • 18 U.S. Code section 982: Criminal forfeiture
  • 18 U.S. Code section 983: General rules for civil forfeiture proceedings
  • 18 U.S. Code section 984: Civil forfeiture of fungible property
  • 18 U.S. Code section 985: Civil forfeiture of real property
  • 18 U.S. Code section 986: Subpoenas for bank records
  • 18 U.S. Code section 987: Anti-terrorist forfeiture protection

These different statutes address different aspects of criminal and civil forfeiture. For example, 18 U.S. Code section 981 explains the types of property subject to civil forfeiture within the United States. According to the relevant statute, property that could be subject to civil forfeiture includes:

  • Real or personal property that is involved in transactions violating 18 U.S. Code sections 1956, 1957, 1958, or related statutes. These statutes deal with money laundering, engaging in monetary transactions with money from unlawful activity, and using interstate commerce to commission a murder for hire.
  • Real or personal property used to commit an offense against a foreign nation if that property is in the jurisdiction of the United States and can be traced to trafficking nuclear, chemical, biological, or radiological weapons technologies
  • Real or personal property traceable to any offenses against a foreign nation that would be punishable within that foreign nation by death or a term of imprisonment that exceeds a year.
  • Real or personal property traceable to any offense that would be punishable by a year or more of imprisonment under U.S. law if the offense had been committed in the United States.
  • Real or personal property that is derived from proceeds traceable to violations of a long list of other federal laws, including but not limited to laws in 18 U.S. Code section 215, 472, 476-481, and many other listed statutes.
  • Real or personal property traceable to various offenses involving automobiles including altering motor vehicle VIN numbers, removing VIN numbers, importing or exporting stolen motor vehicles, armed robbery of motor vehicles, transporting stolen vehicles in interstate commerce, or possessing stolen vehicles that have moved in interstate commerce.

This is just part of the list of assets that could be subject to civil forfeiture. Statutes within 18 U.S. Code Chapter 46 also include a long list of assets that could be subject to criminal forfeiture, as well as details about anti-terrorist forfeiture protection and the process for subpoenaing bank records.

Because it can be difficult to get your property back when it is taken through civil forfeiture or criminal forfeiture, it is important defendants understand whether the government has the authority to take property under the provisions of 18 U.S. Code Chapter 46, and the circumstances under which you may be able to get that property recovered after it has been subject to civil or criminal forfeiture.

Civil and criminal forfeiture are different processes, so make sure you find an attorney familiar with the specific type of forfeiture that has resulted in the loss of your assets.

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Getting help from a Federal Criminal Defense Attorney

A federal criminal defense lawyer at LV Criminal Defense will work hard to help you understand forfeiture laws and to protect your hard earned property. You work too long and hard to acquire assets to have your wealth taken away because of the mere suspicion of wrongdoing. You need to make sure you have a trusted attorney who will stand up for you and fight to help you to keep what is yours. Our firm will provide the advocacy you need to deal with criminal or civil forfeiture, as well as to respond to a subpoena for bank records.

We have a long track record of representing clients in California, Arizona, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, or surrounding areas and we can put our knowledge of federal criminal law to work for you.

To find out more about the ways in which a federal defense attorney can help you, give us a call today.