How Can I Get Seized Property and Money Back?

When the police suspect that your assets are connected with a crime, they have the right to seize them. You don’t even have to be charged with the respective crime for this to happen. And if you want to get your seized property and money back, you have to hire an experienced Clemson criminal defense lawyer to prove your right to resume possession of those assets.

In this article, we will explain how asset seizure works in South Carolina and the defenses your attorney will invoke in order to have them returned to you.

What Is the Law Regarding Asset Seizure by the Police?

The Asset Forfeiture Act allows law enforcement officers to seize property used in or derived from the violation of a law. The seized property and money can be used as evidence against the defendant during the trial or not.

Any seized goods that are not returned to the person will be split between the law enforcement agency that performed the seizure (75%), the prosecution (20%) and the South Carolina State Treasury (5%).

Despite a decision by a lower court that declared asset forfeiture unconstitutional, the Supreme Court overturned the ruling and there are no plans to reform this law in the foreseeable future.

How to Get Seized Assets Back from the Police?

Since they get to keep the largest share of seized goods, both the police officers and the prosecution will be as uncooperative as possible in assisting you to recover your property: however, they have to follow procedures and the law.

Here are the ways in which an attorney can help you get your money and property back:

1. Proving that You Obtained the Goods in a Legitimate Manner

The first possible defense is showing that the seized assets are not connected in any way with a crime. You will have to show that:

  • You did not obtain the money in an unlawful manner
  • The money used to purchase the items is not proceeds from a crime
  • You did not use the assets to commit or facilitate the commission of a crime

police will seize goods obtained from perpetrating a crime

For example, a police officer had probable cause to search your car and found marijuana. This gives them the right to seize your car, as well as any valuables and money in your possession. Your attorney will prove that your car was purchased in a legitimate manner, out of money you saved from your wages or by taking a loan.

2. Winning Your Case in Court

In most of the cases, police seize goods when they charge you with a crime. You must consult with a Clemson criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible, not only to get your seized property and money back, but also to fight the charges.

If your attorney can get your charges dropped or wins your case in court, the probable cause to hold the seized goods disappears. You can petition the law enforcement agency to return them to you.

3. Using the Innocent Owner Doctrine

The innocent owner doctrine stipulates that assets and money cannot be seized if their owner had no idea they were used in committing a crime. For example, you loan your car to a friend and the friend uses it to transport drugs to a buyer.

A skilled lawyer will prove that you had no idea that your friend would use your car for drug trafficking. Therefore, the police have to return it to you.

Discuss Your Case with a Skilled Clemson Criminal Defense Lawyer!

If police officers seized your assets and money, you must take action as quickly as possible if you want to recover them. You will most likely face criminal charges and the seized property and cash will be used as evidence against you.

So do not waste any time before scheduling an appointment with an experienced Clemson criminal defense lawyer. Bring all the available evidence and be 100% honest and upfront in describing the facts of your case.

We offer each new client a free case evaluation, so call us today at 864-263-1679!

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