As we have discussed multiple times in the past, the Florida forfeiture laws give the state a lot of power to take property from people suspected of crimes and then institute forfeiture proceedings to keep that property. We have seen many cases where the state takes a person’s property, usually cash, based on mere suspicion of criminal activity. In some cases, even when a lot of money is taken by the state, criminal charges are never even brought. That appears to be a statement from the government that while we do not think we have sufficient evidence to charge you with a crime, we are still taking your money because we think it is related to criminal activity, or they jsut really want the money. There is an obvious disconnect, but the Florida forfeiture laws allow the state to do that.
Of course, if the state does take your property under those or any other circumstances, you have a right to make a claim for that property and fight to get it back. In that case, it is critical to speak to a law firm that is familiar with the Florida forfeiture laws and handles forfeiture cases in Florida. While there is not much that can be done when the police want to take, or seize, your property at the beginning, there are laws and procedures the state must follow in order to keep, or forfeit, your property thereafter. That is where an experienced Florida forfeiture lawyer can come in. It is important to speak to a Florida forfeiture attorney early in the process because there are certain documents that may need to be filed and certain hearings that should be scheduled to protect your claim. If you wait too long or do not get the proper paperwork filed, it could damage your claim for your property or even prevent you from making a claim altogether.
If you have had property taken from any law enforcement agency and want to protect your rights to get your property back, feel free to contact us for a free consultation.