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Montgomery Alabama Asset Forfeiture and Cash Seizure Legal Blog

Proving an illegal search and seizure

Being subject to asset forfeiture often feels unfair and unjust to those who have been affected by it, and sometimes, it is. Unfortunately, asset forfeiture, the practice by law enforcement officials of seizing assets that are suspected to be involved in a crime, is a controversial act that is viewed as a form of corruption by many.

If you feel that you have been unfairly treated by law enforcement officials after a search and seizure, you must consider whether the situation you were subject to was legal. The following are ways that you may be able to prove that the search and seizure was illegal.

How can I avoid civil asset forfeiture?

Civil asset forfeiture is notorious for being a questionable way for law enforcement officials to seize property. Law enforcement officials have the right to seize assets that they have reasonable cause to suspect have been involved in a crime.

Most commonly, civil asset forfeiture occurs during a traffic stop. If a traffic stop is made, law enforcement officials can choose to search the car if they believe that a crime may have been committed. Any assets deemed to be suspicious can then be seized, even if there is no evidence to show that a crime was committed.

Racial profiling means minorities have assets seized more often

In 2013, a study was performed by the Justice Department to monitor trends regarding traffic stops. It found that black drivers were 31% more likely than white drivers to be pulled over by the police. This statistic is consistent with anecdotal claims as well as other data regarding law enforcement practices and racial relations.

While statistics such as these do not prove that discrimination is to blame for minorities being subject to more traffic stops, other studies support this hypothesis. One such study was undertaken by Stanford University and New York University. It compared data on traffic stops conducted in daylight with data on traffic stops conducted at night. The reasoning behind this was due to the assumption that police officers are more able to identify the race of a driver in the daytime. The study found that black drivers were subject to an increased proportion of traffic stops in the daytime than in the nighttime.

When can the police seize your cash?

Many people think that when they are rightfully in the possession of cash, there's nothing anyone can do to legally take that away from them. While this is true in many cases, there are exemptions to every rule. In certain situations, the police have the legal right to seize your cash.

If you have had cash seized by the police, you are likely feeling angry, upset and worried about your financial future. It is important to understand why the police probably took this action, your rights and what you can do to get justice.

Why asset forfeiture doesn't effectively fight crime

Law enforcement officials are permitted to seize assets that they have reasonable suspicion to believe have been involved in a crime. When these assets have been seized, the proceeds can be used to fund the police force.

This strategy is justified through the argument that asset forfeiture is used to fight crime and that the proceeds gained help communities to have the funds to address criminal issues further. However, a study by Dr. Brian Kelly of the Institute for Justice claims that these forced investments made to law enforcement have not provided the public with any benefit.

Did the police have the right to search my car?

It's unfortunately common for people to be pulled over for very minor reasons only to have their vehicle searched and assets seized. Civil asset forfeiture is a surprising law that allows police officers to seize assets if they have a reasonable suspicion that they have been involved in a crime. Funds raised from the assets seized can then be reinvested into the police force, and many argue that this leads to corrupt practices.

One way to fight this practice is to argue that you were subject to an unlawful search and seizure. If you have had your assets seized by law enforcement officials, you should take the time to learn about what constitutes an unlawful search and seizure.

Surprising facts about civil asset forfeiture

The law surrounding civil asset forfeiture is surprising to many. They essentially make it possible for law enforcement officials to seize assets, from cash and jewelry to cars and homes, if there is a suspicion that the assets have been involved in a crime.

Many people are not aware of the details of civil asset forfeiture proceedings until they have their assets seized. When assets are seized, the charges are made against the assets themselves, not you as the owner. Therefore, you need to prove that the assets were not involved in illegal activity to stand a chance of having them returned.

New evidence links racial bias with traffic stops

It has long been suspected that racial profiling plays a large part in the way that traffic stops are made, and additionally, that minorities are more likely to face charges on the road because of this. New research by Stanford University has now compiled evidence to suggest that there is a clear pattern of racial disparities in traffic stops.

This new data is considered to be the most comprehensive evidence to date, and it has the potential to empower those who have been unjustly stopped when driving by giving them good grounds to argue that they were a victim of racial bias.

Can an officer seize your money during a traffic violation?

Civil forfeiture entitles police to confiscate your assets. Police can take any property that they believe is related to criminal activity. The owners of the money, property or assets seized do not need to be convicted of a crime—or even arrested—for police to confiscate their property.

Asset forfeiture was originally intended to help police shut down large-scale crime groups. Taking away profits made it more difficult for the criminal enterprise to operate. Today, many believe civil forfeiture is used to help police departments increase profits.

What is administrative asset forfeiture?

If your assets have been seized by law enforcement officials in the name of asset forfeiture, you are likely feeling confused, frustrated and perhaps angered.

Asset forfeiture can often happen during the attempted importation of goods or when it is believed that certain property has been involved in a crime. Assets may also be seized to be used as evidence in the trial of a defendant. The following is an explanation of the circumstances in which forfeiture would be described as administrative forfeiture.

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