In Georgia the police can seize your money, guns, and other property through civil forfeiture. Unlike other states, you do not need to be convicted of a crime for this to happen. If the police seize your property, it’s your responsibility to act fast and stop them from keeping it. Georgia has some of the nation’s worst laws when it comes to stealing property from it’s citizens. If your money, guns, or other property has been seized, contact a lawyer asap. Call our office to discuss your options today, and read the information below to know more about civil forfeitures in Georgia.
What is a civil forfeiture?
A civil forfeiture is the process used by the State to seize anything they claim you gained in connection with criminal activity.
Do I have to be convicted of a crime for the police to take my property?
No. The police can seize your property even if you are not convicted of a crime.
How do I get my property back if it was seized by the police?
You must file a petition claiming your money or property, and contest the forfeiture in court.
How much time do I have to get my money or property back?
The owner of seized property has 30 days from the date of notice to contest the forfeiture. If you do not claim the property within those 30 days, the property is then forfeited to local law enforcement officials with very little oversight.
What do I have to prove in court to get my money or property back?
The State must first prove “by a preponderance of the evidence” that the property seized was acquired by conduct that led to the lawful forfeiture. Once the State meets its burden, then you must show that you were not part of the criminal activity that led to the forfeiture, and that your property was not acquired as a result of any criminal activity that led to the forfeiture.
Does this mean I can get everything seized from me during my encounter with the police?
No. The police has the legal right to seize your property and hold it as evidence. Evidence related to a pending criminal matter may be held by the State until the completion of the case.
Has Attorney Muneer Awad successfully contested a civil forfeiture?
Yes, and he can fight to get your money or property back too. The Awad Legal Team specializes in criminal defense, including charges commonly associated with civil forfeitures, for instance. If you have any questions about how to fight the State, and how to get your money and property back from the police, then contact our office today to speak with an attorney.