Chicago Asset Forfeiture Attorneys
Civil & Criminal Asset Forfeiture
People arrested and charged with crimes can face many serious consequences, not just jail and fines. For example, if you are arrested in Illinois, you can have your personal property seized by the police, and if you are convicted of a crime, specific property also can be seized. This is known as civil and criminal asset forfeiture and is one of the most controversial law enforcement practices at the state and federal levels.
Even if you are not charged with a crime in some instances, your property could be seized under asset forfeiture. If you have a legal issue involving civil or criminal asset forfeiture, our Chicago asset forfeiture attorneys at Law Offices of Vadim A. Glozman can assist you.
How Illinois Police Benefit From Asset Forfeiture
The ACLU and Illinois Policy Institute found that Illinois law enforcement confiscated about $319 million from state residents suspected of a crime between 2005 and 2015. Federal law enforcement seized about $404 million in property during that time. Both state and federal law enforcement often underreport what they seize, so the amounts could be higher. Unfortunately, many people unfairly have their property taken and often cannot afford the time, money, and hassle to get it back.
With millions of dollars of property seized from innocent Illinois citizens every year, police can put the money and property into their coffers, so there is a profit motivation to take as much property as possible. Unfortunately, despite recent reforms, Illinois has some of the worst asset forfeiture laws in the country.
Seizures often involve currency amounts under $1,000, and many property seizures in Cook County are in poor neighborhoods where the amount seized is under $100. While it can be difficult for the innocent to regain their property on their own, our Chicago criminal defense attorneys can help.
Illinois Legislation On Asset Seizure
The most recent state laws concerning civil and criminal asset seizure were signed in 2017. Under current civil asset forfeiture laws, the police can take property they suspect is linked to a crime, even if you have not been convicted. Criminal asset forfeiture involves a case where the property owner is charged with a crime, and the asset or property is thought to have been used to commit the crime.
Before, the burden of proof was with you, the property owner, to prove that you should be allowed to keep the property. However, today, the burden is with the state of Illinois to prove that your property was used in a crime. New laws also removed the need for cost bonds to be paid to the property owner.
The law also states that the police must meet certain conditions to seize assets. Police may only take your property if they suspect it was used to commit a crime. The property owner may appeal to the court to get their property returned. To get your property back, you and your asset forfeiture attorney need to prove:
You were not personally involved in the offense.
You were unaware of a crime being conducted with the property. You have the burden of proving that you did not know about the offense.
You did not benefit from the property being used criminally.
You are not a ‘front man’ holding the asset in your name to benefit the accused.
How Assets Can Be Seized By Police In Illinois
When the police seize your property, the court has 14 days to tell you that there was probable cause to take the asset. Illinois has 45 days to tell you the government will hold your property. The notice from the state must contain this information:
The property that was seized
What the property is worth
Why the police took the property
When and where your property was taken
How to appeal for your property to be returned
Your right to appeal
After you are sent the probable cause notice, you can appeal. Our Chicago civil and criminal asset forfeiture attorneys can assist with the appeal process.
How A Criminal Defense Attorney Can Defend You
Many types of property can be seized under the state’s asset forfeiture laws. For instance, even your vehicle can be seized by the police if your driver’s license was revoked for a DUI. However, if your property has been seized under asset forfeiture laws, there are several potential defenses to get your property returned.
First, your attorney may argue there was no probable cause to take the asset. For example, for the police to stop you in your vehicle and search it, they must have probable cause. The court may dismiss the case if they stopped you without a valid reason.
Second, in a civil forfeiture case, Attorney Glozman may argue that you were unaware of the offense and did not participate. You may be able to have your property returned if you can prove you were not involved in the alleged crime.
Third, the 4th Amendment of the US Constitution protects you from illegal searches and seizures. If the police searched you without a warrant or illegally seized property, you could have the property returned.
Fourth, the case could be dismissed if there was an excessive delay in bringing the case to trial that harms your ability to get your property back. For example, some law enforcement agencies take months to bring the case to trial, which makes it difficult in some cases for you to get it back at all.
If you were charged with a crime and your property was seized, this is criminal asset forfeiture. Depending on the case, your attorney may need different legal approaches. One way could be to simply fight the criminal charge and get it dismissed, which should result in your property being returned.
Contact Our Chicago Asset Forfeiture Defense Attorneys Today
Illinois law enforcement often think that they can take property they believe was used in a crime. However, in a free country, it is essential to ensure that the police are not abusing their power. Our attorneys in Chicago can build the best case to counter their claims that your property was used for criminal activity. Speak to our Chicago asset forfeiture defense attorneys at Law Offices of Vadim A. Glozman today at 312-726-9015 to discuss how to fight your asset forfeiture case.
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