In addition to potential jail time, probation or fines, those convicted of a crime may face the loss of significant assets. A skilled criminal defense lawyer in Fresno can explain what asset forfeiture is and when it may be triggered.
When Asset Forfeiture May Be a Risk
Asset forfeiture occurs when law enforcement takes ownership of a criminal suspect’s assets such as money, cars, houses or other property of value. As a criminal defense lawyer in Fresno can explain, the risk of forfeiture goes along with crimes where a suspect has benefited financially. In general, law enforcement may confiscate assets or property that are instruments or proceeds (profit) of the crime committed.
The Types of Crimes That Typically Trigger Forfeiture
As a criminal defense lawyer in Fresno can discuss, certain crimes are more likely to result in asset forfeiture:
- drug trafficking;
- terrorist-related activities;
- embezzlement; or
- fraud or other white collar crimes.
The common feature of these crimes is that they allegedly benefit the wrongdoer financially. As such, law enforcement may be able to deprive the suspect from the fruits or instruments of the crime.
What Happens to Forfeited Assets
What happens to forfeited assets will vary from state to state. In most cases, those assets are used for the benefit of law enforcement. Often, high-dollar items like boats, cars, jewelry, real estate or other property are auctioned off, and the proceeds go into state funds to benefit the police. They may be used to provide training and equipment.
Knowing Your Rights
The criminal suspect has the right to due process and notice before forfeiture can take place. The time frame for exercising these rights can be short, so it's important to seek qualified counsel if you're at risk.
Seeking Legal Assistance
If you've been accused of a crime or face criminal prosecution, it's critical that you discuss your case with a Fresno criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The earlier you seek qualified advice, the more options you may have available for your defense. To make an appointment with Capozzi Law, call 559-374-2012.