Bail, Bond And Civil Forfeiture
In certain situations, including cases involving Arizona’s RICO act, the government has access to a process known as civil forfeiture. In such cases the government may seize, and may sell, any private property that has been used for illegal purposes or obtained using funds obtained illegally. The government uses the proceeds from the sale of such property to fund some of the types of activities that resulted in your arrest in the first place.
While this process might sound good to the average person, because the seized property can give the government and law enforcement the resources it needs to effectively work on behalf of Americans, it can be a nightmare for someone who has had their property improperly seized by the government.
If your property has been taken by the State of Arizona or by the federal government, you may still be able reclaim it. With an experienced attorney, you can use the forfeiture process to establish that you are an innocent owner (someone who had nothing to do with the crime in question), or that your property wasn’t purchased with illegally obtained funds, or that your property was not used in any crime.
What Do The RICO Statues Do?
RICO, which stands for Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization, encompasses many acts. Essentially, these are all acts where profit is somehow unlawfully obtained, or attempted to be unlawfully obtained. This applies to property and money that might have been obtained through something deemed a crime.
An act of racketeering is generally anything that can be punishable by a year or more in prison, like extortion, robbery, and even murder. Most profitable gang related ventures fall under the umbrella of racketeering. Forgery, prostitution, gambling, selling drugs or weapons, kidnapping for ransom, and money laundering also count as racketeering. All racketeering related crimes are felonies, and racketeering is a crime all by itself.
Property, vehicles, and cash can be seized, and their value can be used to pay the prosecution’s costs and any other costs associated with the investigation. This becomes a problem when property is wrongly seized, because it had nothing to do with a crime and wasn’t purchased with money that was obtained as a result of a crime.
The law needs to be able to prove that the property being seized under RICO statues was directly impacted by the legal definition of racketeering before seizure can rightfully take place. If no money was involved or the incident in question wasn’t actually a crime on your behalf, it’s likely that the asset can’t rightfully be taken.
What To Do In Cases Of Civil Forfeiture
Recently, laws surrounding civil forfeiture were tightened, which is good news. The laws were alarmingly lax before. All an officer needed was suspicion to seize something – there were no convictions or even criminal charges necessary. Many people felt that this was an outright misuse of power, and something needed to be done to prevent it. Now, law enforcement needs to be able to prove “clear and convincing” evidence in order to justify a seizure.
This change of the law makes it easier to fight civil forfeiture that doesn’t meet the standard of clear and convincing evidence, when in the past, the lack of definition made these cases nearly impossible. With the improvement of the law, we can go over the circumstances to determine whether or not the seizure is justified. By reviewing for mistakes and putting the burden of proof on the legal system to definitively prove that the evidence was clear and convincing, we may be able to get your property back.
If you had absolutely no involvement in the crime that lead to the seizure of the asset, no one is allowed to take it from you and keep it. If the property seized was purchased legally with clean money, it isn’t susceptible to civil forfeiture. If it’s the wrong piece of property entirely, this can also help you get it back.
These things are hard to prove on your own. You need to have someone who understands the law working on your side. We know how to counter suggestions and find mistakes in details and documentation that may have led to an unlawful seizure of property. We want to see your property returned, and we’ll fight until you get it back.
Schedule a free consultation with a successful attorney experienced in civil forfeiture and Arizona RICO forfeiture defense. I can help you reclaim your improperly seized property.
Reclaiming Your Money In A Bail/Bond Forfeiture Hearing
I provide legal services to help family members, friends, bail bondsmen or others who put up their money to get someone out of jail. These services are also available to defendants who put up bail/bond but did not show up for a court date.
If you aren’t going to be in court for your arraignment, your trial, your sentencing, or any other court related event you were mandated to appear at, you need a sufficient excuse. If you don’t have that sufficient excuse, that’s where forfeiture comes into play.
After bail has been posted and a defendant has failed to appear in court, the judge sends a notice of bond forfeiture to the commissioner. You risk losing your money if you don’t consult a lawyer who has successfully argued before the commissioners for the return of forfeited bail money.
It’s extremely important not to miss any of your mandatory court appearances. Sometimes, things happen that can reasonably prevent you from making it. If you have any control over the situation at all, you absolutely must show up. Don’t count on skipping court and having things work out in your favor – attempting to get bail returned is difficult, and if you can avoid putting yourself at risk, you need to do it.
We’ll be with you at your bond forfeiture hearing. Before the bond is officially forfeited, you and your attorney will have the chance to speak out about why the bond should be exonerated. Things like medical emergencies and hospitalizations are very easy to prove – you couldn’t come in if you were hospitalized because that expectation would be unreasonable.
If you were involved in a separate incident with law enforcement, whether it was a car accident or you were a victim of an assault, all you need is the police report to prove where you were and what you were doing. If you merely forgot, were too nervous to show up, or you couldn’t find a ride, you’re probably not going to be able to reclaim your bail. The circumstances need to be reasonably out of your control.
If you aren’t sure, contact us. We’ll be able to let you know if you have a sufficient reason to fight for your bail back. We can review the details with a free consultation and let you know if we’re able to help you once we iron out the specifics.
How To Get The Process Started
If you’re trying to get bail returned or fight civil forfeiture, you need to call us today or use the contact form we’ve provided above to schedule a free consultation. These cases are extraordinarily difficult, and you aren’t likely to have much luck unless you have an experienced and aggressive attorney on your side. We’ve done it for other clients, and we’re ready to do it for you.