How many times have criminal defense lawyers heard their client complain: “The police took my car!” Unfortunately, many people do not know that if they, or a close relative, is arrested for a crime, there can be penalties other than jail or prison time and fines. Federal officials such as the police or prosecutors, can request that your property be seized and forfeited. So yes, they can take away your property, including your car.
How Can They Take Away Your Property?
So many individuals do not realize that governmental officials can take away your property, including your car, your house, your bank accounts, and your cash. How can this happen? Criminal defense attorneys explain that actions such as these are carried out in civil court through the civil litigation process and is a lawsuit like any other. This means that you are being sued, a lawsuit has been filed, and you will be notified of that civil action by a process server. Such a lawsuit is a separate case than the criminal case you may be facing for criminal charges that have been filed.
As an example, if you are charged with a drug crime, they can claim that any portion of your property was purchased with drug proceeds. If you are arrested for felony DWI, they can seek to take away your vehicle because it was used in the commission of a crime.
Criminal defense lawyers advise that these are only a few examples of the ways that prosecutors use these laws in more creative ways to seize as much as possible from people charged with crimes.
What Should You Do?
Whenever you are served with papers regarding a civil lawsuit, it is vital to seek the services of criminal defense attorneys familiar with such actions. Experienced litigation lawyers know that there are deadlines involved before which certain actions must take place.
If you do nothing after receiving such notice, the State can file for a Default Judgment and automatically receive a favorable judgment – which means you could lose your property. The State can seize houses, properties, cars, cash, and anything else that they prove was the result of criminal activity.
It is best to contact experienced criminal defense lawyers as soon as you are charged with a crime to ensure that your rights and your property are protected. Knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys will be sure to put pressure on prosecutors who may try to seize as much property as they can from people charged with crimes.
You have rights, both in regard to alleged criminal actions and in the defense of your property. Experienced criminal defense lawyers will make sure that no one takes what is yours without following the law!
By: Gustavo D. Elizondo III, Attorney at Law
Garza & Elizondo, LLP
680 East St. Charles St, Suite 600
Brownsville TX 78520
1393 East Alton Gloor Blvd, Suite 12
Brownsville TX 78526