If you’re being accused of a crime, it sometimes doesn’t matter if you’re guilty or not. The government will do what it can to make life difficult for you. This is especially true if someone is being accused of financial crime. Financial crimes are often considered white-collar crimes and when it’s time to gather evidence and prepare the case against you, the government has a lot of tools in its back pocket.

One of those tools is designed to make your life as uncomfortable as possible. Will go through and they will freeze all of your assets so that you cannot touch anything until the case is over and you’re found to be innocent. This can also include forfeiture of your assets, which means that they can come into your home and take your things, freeze your bank account, and keep you from being able to do anything.

This is why it’s super important for you to contact a Seattle civil forfeiture attorney to find out exactly what your rights and responsibilities are. You should definitely proceed on this matter with a defense attorney who knows the process and can walk you through it. Engaging in a case like this alone without understanding the inner workings of asset forfeiture can hurt you in the long run. Let’s take a quick look at what asset forfeiture is.

Asset Forfeiture: What is It?

While a defense attorney understands your position and will do their best to help protect you from having your assets seized or your bank account frozen, there’s a reason why the government does this. If anyone is suspected of committing a white-collar crime, such as forgery, then the government will do what they can to cripple that person and to prevent them from using the money that they supposedly stole.

Groups like the Federal Bureau of Investigation use this tactic to aid in their investigation and to prevent anyone from having any type of access to any of the supposed assets that might’ve been stolen. Even if you’re in a sense of crime, they will go in and they will freeze the bank accounts you have zero access to your own money. This also has the effect of preventing other crimes from taking place.

How Asset Forfeiture Has Been Used in the Past

Asset forfeiture has been used as a means of stopping criminals for hundreds of years. Even back in the 1600s, the police of those days knew that if they didn’t retrieve the gold or whatever that was stolen, it would be used to purchase weapons or other dangerous equipment that would allow pirates or criminals to continue arresting and terrorizing citizens. This type of theft was used to fuel their criminal enterprise.

The more they stole and pillaged, the more money they had to buy bigger ships and larger, more powerful weapons. Using this example, you can see why today’s law enforcement uses asset forfeiture to help aid in their investigation. It stops the individual from getting rid of any assets or money that they might’ve stolen from the victim. This also puts a lot of pressure on the suspected criminal because all of their money and assets have been seized by the government.

It’s also a great tactic for stopping criminal enterprises from continuing very illegal acts. It will disrupt the organization by taking away all of their money and resources. Once the money is seized in the case is over, if the person or organization is found guilty of theft, then the money is there and readily available to give back to the victim who it was stolen from. By not seizing the assets from the onset of the investigation, there’s a good chance that the money could disappear.

Types of Asset Forfeiture

There are a variety of forfeitures the government can use, including criminal, administrative, and civil. In the case of a criminal prosecution, the government must seize all property and assets involved in the crime. That doesn’t mean that you have to take forfeiture laying down. A proper defense attorney would know how to contest the seizure to prevent your assets from being frozen. There’s a variety of ways to contest the forfeiture which usually takes place through various trial proceedings.

Administrative forfeiture happens when a federal agency gets involved. They will go through and seize property and assets that often go uncontested by the defendant. There are different deadlines that are put in place to give the defendant enough time to decide whether they want to contest the forfeiture. If they do contest it, then it becomes either a judicial or criminal case.

What Are Your Rights? 

So now, understanding how and why asset forfeiture takes place and why law enforcement agencies will use this process to help aid in an ongoing situation, you should understand what your rates are in the event of this situation. By law, you are innocent until proven guilty and having all of your assets frozen can certainly complicate your life. You could lose access to everything that you own, including your vehicles, your money, your home, and so much more.

You have every right to fight to have your assets seized. In the event of white-collar crime, the government will step in and do what they can to recover what was lost on behalf of the victim. That doesn’t mean you should become a victim yourself if you’re innocent of the accusation. This is why you should hire a defense attorney to represent you in your case.

The proper white-collar defense attorney will know exactly how to petition the court to prevent forfeiture from happening. No one can afford to have their assets seized and bank accounts frozen, so hiring legal representation to contest the matter is finally important to your defense. There are a lot of strict deadlines that are put in place for a reason, so you only have a little bit of time to contest the forfeiture.