Civil asset forfeiture has been around for decades. It allows the police to seize assets of those they encounter during traffic stops and other activities if they believe the assets were part of any type of criminal activity. After seizing the assets, the police can hold onto them forever or even sell them at auction. The owners of the assets don’t even need to be arrested or charged with a crime for the assets to be forfeited.
When forfeiture was originally created, it was done so in an effort to cripple large criminal operations in the country by taking away the resources they so desperately need to operate. In today’s world, police departments are using forfeiture to fix their bottom line because they are only focused on profit and not actually fighting crime.
If your property or cash has been seized by a police officer, you can attempt to reacquire said property. This is a daunting and expensive task to undertake. In many instances, the cost to reacquire the seized property will cost more than the property is worth — which causes a lot of people to simply give up.
Police are using their ability to seize cash and other items more often than ever before these days. They use a simple traffic violation, such as failure to signal when changing lanes, to initiate a traffic stop. They then ascertain if there are any assets on the subject and confiscate them, claiming that they were involved in a crime. Most of the time, the subject is not even charged with a crime.
Civil asset forfeiture is a common and growing problem in Alabama and the rest of the country. It’s important for you to know your rights and protect yourself as much as possible when encountering the police. If you need help protecting your rights, seek out more information about your options today.