How a Forfeiture Lawyer in Maryland Can Help Recover Your Property
Have you recently had your car, money or real property (e.g. home) seized from you by the government? Do you need help from a forfeiture lawyer in Maryland to get it back? The attorneys at Houlon, Berman, Finci, Levenstein, Skok & Sandler understand the severity of forfeiture cases and know that your property is important to you. Let us defend your property rights before they are taken away.
If you find yourself in the middle of a case, and in need of an experienced Maryland forfeiture lawyer, don’t hesitate to contact us today.
What is Forfeiture?
Forfeiture is the process by which the government acquires seized property and assets of a citizen in connection with some type of criminal case or illegal conduct, although this is not always the case.
Forfeiture laws date back to medieval times when property which was negligently or criminally used was forfeited to the King for the good of the realm. Forfeiture proceedings are about the property itself and not the person who owned it—known as “in rem” proceedings. With this historical background, one can see that forfeiture is really about sources of income for the government rather than punishment for crime.
Examples of assets that can be seized by the government in this process include:
- Real estate
- Bank accounts/cash
- Vehicles (cars, boats, planes, etc.)
- Jewelry and other valuables
There are two main types of forfeiture:
- Civil forfeiture – in which the government files a civil suit against the property of the owner after having established probable cause that the property was earned from or is instrumental in criminal activity.
- Criminal forfeiture – in which assets are seized following a criminal conviction in order to punish the offender for committing a crime.
Since a conviction is not required for civil forfeiture, the Federal Government and Department of Justice (DOJ) are increasingly using this form of asset confiscation. This means that you can face civil forfeiture without even being charged with a crime.
The Problems with Forfeiture
Forfeiture has become more widespread due to efforts by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to limit the flow of assets to drug traffickers.
However, since administrative, rather than judicial, forfeiture has made the process easier for the government, a lack of judicial oversight can lead to unfounded, unfair and excessive forfeitures.
This lack of oversight, coupled with the arguable conflict of interest with law enforcement agencies interested in keeping your assets for themselves, creates several effective strategies for challenging forfeiture in court.
How a Forfeiture Lawyer Can Protect You
The forfeiture lawyers at Houlon Berman know that your assets are important and have experience with forfeiture cases at both the state and federal level.
We understand the weaknesses in the government’s case for forfeiture and will fight aggressively to challenge their claim to your property. Whether you are facing a civil or criminal forfeiture hearing, we will be there by your side to defend your rights.
If you are facing forfeiture, you need to act quickly before the Department of Justice or State of Maryland owns your property and assets permanently. The time limits and constraints on forfeiture notices are strictly enforced!
Contact Houlon Berman
If the government has taken, or is threatening to take, your property without your consent, do not wait another minute – let Houlon Berman’s forfeiture lawyers assist you today.
The law professionals at Houlon, Berman, Finci, Levenstein, Skok & Sandler proudly hold a Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings ™ certification of AV®. We can assist with criminal and forfeiture law in Maryland, including Rockville, Greenbelt, Upper Marlboro and the District of Columbia.
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