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When your property has been seized, it can be a confusing and stressful experience. You might be unsure of your rights and how to challenge the seizure. Property can be seized under various circumstances, often involving allegations of criminal activity. Understanding the legal framework surrounding property seizure and the steps to take can make a significant difference. A criminal defense attorney at Federal Criminal Attorneys of Michigan can help you understand your rights, contest the seizure, and pursue the return of your property.

Understanding Your Legal Rights

It’s important to understand your legal rights when your property has been seized. Property seizure typically occurs when there is suspicion of involvement in criminal activity, such as drug trafficking or money laundering. However, not all seizures are lawful, and knowing your constitutional rights can help protect you.

The Fourth Amendment protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures, meaning law enforcement must have probable cause and, in most cases, a warrant to seize your property. Additionally, the Eighth Amendment prohibits excessive fines and cruel or unusual punishment, which can be relevant in forfeiture cases.

You should recognize that you have the right to challenge the seizure. You can request a hearing to contest the legality of the seizure and present evidence supporting your claim. A criminal defense attorney at Federal Criminal Attorneys of Michigan can help you understand these rights, assess whether the seizure was lawful, and determine the best course of action to protect your property and interests.

Challenging Seizures

Challenging a property seizure involves several steps to ensure that your rights are upheld:

  • Review the Seizure: Determine if law enforcement had probable cause and a warrant. If these were not met, the seizure could be unlawful.
  • Consult a Criminal Defense Attorney: An attorney at Federal Criminal Attorneys of Michigan will review the circumstances of the seizure and ensure all legal procedures were followed. If violations are found, the attorney can file a motion to suppress the evidence.
  • Gather Evidence: Collect supporting evidence, including:
    • Witness Testimonies: Statements from individuals who can attest to the circumstances.
    • Documentation: Any paperwork or records that contradict the seizure’s legality.
    • Expert Analysis: Professional evaluations that support your claim.
  • Challenge the Prosecution: Your attorney will question the prosecution’s evidence and arguments, aiming to demonstrate the seizure’s unjustified nature.
  • File a Motion: If necessary, your attorney will file a motion to return the property, citing any legal violations and presenting your collected evidence.

By effectively challenging the seizure, you increase your chances of having your property returned and protecting your rights against unlawful actions.

Navigating Forfeiture Proceedings

Navigating forfeiture proceedings can be complex. Forfeiture involves the government seizing property believed to be connected to criminal activity, either through civil or criminal forfeiture. In civil forfeiture, the government’s action is against the property itself, while in criminal forfeiture, the property is seized as part of the sentence for a criminal conviction.

An attorney at the Federal Criminal Attorneys of Michigan can guide you through this process. They will explain the specific type of forfeiture you’re facing and its implications. Your attorney will help you file a claim to contest the forfeiture. They will represent you in court, presenting evidence and arguments to prove that your property should not be forfeited. Having a knowledgeable attorney by your side increases your chances of successfully reclaiming your property and navigating the forfeiture proceedings.

Contact Our Experienced Detroit Criminal Defense Attorney

Federal Criminal Attorneys of Michigan can help protect your rights and reclaim your seized property through expert legal representation. We will guide you through every step, from challenging seizures to navigating forfeiture proceedings. Contact us today for a consultation and take the first step towards securing your property and peace of mind.

Federal Criminal Attorneys of Michigan, rooted in Detroit, assists clients with criminal defense in Lansing, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Flint, and all of Michigan. 

About the Author
Led by Sanford Schulman, the Federal Criminal Attorneys of Michigan bring to each client over three decades of experience and many ‘not guilty’ verdicts. With your life, livelihood, and that of your family on the line, you don’t just deserve a team that goes to bat for you on a daily basis; you absolutely need one. Our attorneys spare no effort, skill, or determination in serving defendants and their families. We strive to provide an unparalleled level of commitment and ability to your case—precisely when you need it most.