Asset forfeiture is typically an unfamiliar term if you have never dealt with it. While you may see it occasionally in the news or other media, it tends to be something you do not think about until you or a loved one is faced with it.
Over the years, police departments have used asset forfeiture for their own gain. A few years ago, Illinois made changes to its rules regarding criminal asset forfeiture.
Here’s what you should know about what police can take and how it could impact the charges against you.
Is there a limit to what police can take?
In most cases, police have one limit to what they can take; the asset’s use in a crime. Officers, however, have some discretion regarding what falls into that category. For example, in addition to confiscating illegal drugs, an officer may assume that cash found near the drugs is related to the drug activity.
When it comes to asset forfeiture, police are limited to property related to the crime. Still, officers are not limited to certain types of property. This means that an officer could take cash, a vehicle or any other property they believe is part of the crime.
Will I get it back?
The question of getting your assets back can be a challenging one. For vehicles, specifically, you may be able to request getting temporary possession during the investigation, but only if you can demonstrate a hardship and no other options to resolve your need.
When it comes to other possessions, there have been significant changes to Illinois legislation to help you get your assets back, such as:
- Shifting the burden to the government to prove guilt rather than the citizen to prove innocence
- A more efficient process for returning property to innocent parties
- Public reporting of seized assets
- Removal of “cost bond” for a judge to hear the case
If the police seize your assets in connection to an alleged crime, it is essential to talk to an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.