Asset Forfeiture in Drug Crime Cases
Asset forfeiture occurs when the government seizes property or assets related to, or obtained as a result of, criminal activity. Consequently, a person accused of a drug crime may face criminal charges as well as the potential loss of their property through Tennessee’s administrative drug forfeiture statutes. If you received a Notice of Seizure or Forfeiture Warrant, a Nashville drug crime lawyer can help you contest the permanent forfeiture of your property. Attorney Bernie McEvoy has experience with asset forfeiture in drug crime cases in Davidson and Williamson Counties. He can fight to protect your rights during the proceedings and pursue a favorable outcome on your behalf.Asset Forfeiture in Drug Crime Cases
Under Tennessee law, assets and property that are involved in or obtained through most drug crimes may be seized by law enforcement. Asset forfeiture in drug crime cases are common in large-scale drug cases, such as cocaine trafficking and methamphetamine manufacturing, but may occur in other types of drug dealing offenses as well. Property subject to forfeiture includes any controlled substances that are illegally manufactured, sold, or acquired, as well as the materials, equipment, and products used to manufacture, process, or deliver the controlled substances. Law enforcement officers can also seize motor vehicles, boats, aircraft, and other conveyances that were used or used with intent to transport, sell, or receive illegal drugs. In addition, anything of value that is provided in exchange for the drugs, or that is used in furtherance of a drug crime is subject to forfeiture. This means that cash, checks, negotiable instruments, other assets, and all proceeds that are traceable to a drug transaction may be seized and kept by the state.
Nevertheless, there are limitations to asset forfeiture in drug crime cases. For instance, property owned by a person who did not participate in or know that their property was used to commit a drug crime is not subject to forfeiture. Nor may a motor vehicle generally be forfeited for a simple drug possession or drug paraphernalia offense. Moreover, the government must comply with legal requirements provided by statute. These procedures include providing notice to the owner or owners of the seized property, and the right of the owner to contest the seizure of their property at a hearing.The Tennessee Asset Forfeiture Process
Although asset forfeiture often occurs after the defendant has been convicted of a crime, a Tennessee law enforcement officer may seize property pursuant to an arrest, or when there is probable cause of a drug crime. When the property is seized by a police officer, the officer will provide a Notice of Seizure to the person who was in possession of the property. The officer must then seek a Forfeiture Warrant from a local judge. If the judge finds there is probable cause for the seizure, the judge will sign and issue the warrant. A person who owns or has an interest in property that is subject to drug forfeiture can appeal at a hearing. In some cases, the state attorney and property owner may attempt to negotiate an out of court settlement regarding the assets. The process of recovering improperly seized property can be complicated, but a lawyer can assist in asserting your rights throughout the proceedings.Discuss Asset Forfeiture in Drug Crime Cases with an Attorney in Nashville
A qualified lawyer can assist people whose assets have been seized by the government as a result of an alleged drug crime. Attorney Bernie McEvoy defends people against drug and DUI charges in Franklin, Nashville, and many other locations in Williamson and Davidson Counties. If you have questions regarding drug forfeiture or another criminal law issue, you can schedule a free consultation with a knowledgeable lawyer at the Law Office of Bernie McEvoy. We are available by phone at (615) 255-9595 during daytime hours and (615) 804-8779 on evenings and weekends, and online at any time.