Is asset forfeiture common across the United States?

On Behalf of | Jul 5, 2019 | Asset Forfeiture

You know that the police can legally seize your assets via a process known as asset forfeiture in Alabama. Maybe they have already done it. They claimed you committed a crime and took the assets due to their alleged connection to that crime.

One of the many things you’re wondering is if this practice is common all over the United States or if it’s just something that happens in Alabama. You have never heard of it before, and it’s hard for you to believe that it is legal in the first place.

The reality, though, is that this process sees use in most states. In the majority of them, the police do not need a conviction to take your assets. A few, like New Mexico and California, mandate that police cannot take assets without a conviction, but they are in the minority.

Alabama is far from alone. States ranging from Texas to Michigan to Florida to Washington all allow police to seize assets prior to a conviction. They could pull you over and arrest you for apparent drug crimes, for instance, taking all of the cash in your car and claiming that it came from a drug sale, even though you could be months or years away from a conviction on drug distribution charges. You may never get convicted at all. They have no way to know at that moment, but that does not stop them from taking your assets based simply on what they assume happened.

If this happens to you, it is absolutely crucial that you understand all of the legal options you have.