Article provided by: Attorney Bret Schmidt
Millions of Americans aren't aware of civil asset forfeiture until they or their loved ones experience one. Criminal asset forfeiture happens as part of the defendant's criminal prosecution when the state of Texas confiscates a person's property. Often known as "asset seizure" or "confiscation," this process allows the Texas government to seize any property used to further a specific crime or somehow connected to a crime.
If you face civil asset forfeiture in Texas, the sooner you hire an experienced defense lawyer, the better. Unfortunately, there have been many cases in which the Texas government wrongfully seized innocent citizens' property. However, an experienced forfeiture lawyer can help you protect your rights throughout the entire process. Here are five key reasons you should schedule your free consultation with our leading asset forfeiture lawyer in Dallas, TX.
Provide You With A Quick guide to Civil asset forfeiture in Texas
Like many states, Texas police can attempt to forfeit your property if used or proceeds with drug sales. The law allows the state police to seize your car, your money, or your home, all without committing a crime. This is possible because the preponderance of the evidence measures the weight of drug asset forfeiture, leading to a criminal case beyond a reasonable doubt. However, the police know this and many police jurisdictions have sections that exist just for this purpose. Consulting a Texas asset forfeiture attorney will see you enlightened with information that can keep you ahead of the police.
The Law Governing Civil Asset forfeiture is Complicated
The law regarding drug asset forfeiture is complicated. There are rules regarding the timing of notices, likewise when the hearing takes place. An asset forfeiture attorney in Dallas, TX, knows these rules and deadlines and can handle them without losing your case before it began.
In some jurisdictions, the hearing examiner, the person who sits and decides whether the police asset forfeiture is valid, can be the chief of police or a captain or lieutenant of the police force, or someone from a neighboring police force. There are ways to combat this seeming unfairness, but you have to know them. An attorney will understand them and be prepared to make sure your rights are protected. All the rules regarding proper search and seizure law, a topic that fills books and books in law libraries, are in play and may work for your benefit. An attorney will know this.
Help Save You From Greater Risk
Depending on the nature of the charge, by requesting a hearing, you can place yourself at risk for criminal prosecution. In a forfeiture hearing, you do NOT have the right to take the 5th Amendment. The attorney representing the police at the hearing could ask you questions you probably shouldn't answer. A DFW asset forfeiture defense lawyer can protect you from this and give you the best advice on how to prepare yourself.
Fortifies You With the Rules and Provide You With the Appropriate Defenses
Many people come to these forfeiture hearings representing themselves, and they claim to have evidence, receipts, tax returns, pay stubs, and other relevant information. And when asked to present it, they look confused because they left it at home, not knowing they would need it. A criminal forfeiture attorney will know what you need and get you prepared. Also, there are several legal defenses to asset forfeiture. An attorney will know how to present these defenses to the hearing examiner or the court in the correct way to win your case.
The State Pays Your Attorney After Winning Your Case
That's right. If you win your asset forfeiture case, the state or city pays for your Texas seized property lawyer fees. The police often overlook this aspect of Texas law, but it's the truth, and recently, it was made stronger by the Texas Supreme Court. Talk to an attorney about this and take advantage of the policy.
Responding to Civil Asset Forfeiture
Do not hesitate to contact civil asset forfeiture attorney immediately when faced with civil asset forfeiture in Texas. Many citizens lost their properties because they don't know their rights and failed to take the necessary steps.
If you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney in the DFW area, contact Attorney Bret W. Schmidt for a free, no-obligation consultation: 214-526-1100.
Civil Asset Forfeiture Texas