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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 29985
Experience:  Criminal Justice Degree, JD with Criminal Law Concentration. Worked for the DA and U.S. Attorney.
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what and how does a forfiture hearing proceed

Resolved Question:

what and how does a forfiture hearing proceed
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 5 years ago.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

If the government has reason to believe that property owned by an individual is the proceeds, instrumentality, or evidence of a crime, they can seize that property. Basically, if something can be traced to being used to commit a crime, or if it was purchased with the proceeds (or it IS the proceeds, such as stolen money), they hold a hearing to determine whether the item should be forfeited. This is NOT a criminal proceeding - that's important, because the standard of proof is lower. They don't have to show that the items are related to criminal activity beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendant is notified of the hearing in advance, and does have a right to appear and try to show why the property should be returned.

A common defense is the "innocent owner" defense. For example, if I own a car, and I let my daughter use it, and she decides to sell drugs out of the trunk, the car should not be seized if I can show that it's my car, and I had no idea she intended to use the vehicle for that purpose.
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