In Texas, the law allows law enforcement agencies to seize assets from people suspected of crimes. The law does not require that the accused be convicted or even charged with a crime. Assets can be seized on mere suspicion of criminal activity.
According to an article from the Dallas Observer, Texas law enforcement agencies have used this law to the tune of $41.5 million per year on average in assets seized. That is a lot of assets. Now though, lawmakers are pushing a bill to reform civil forfeiture law.
Bringing An End To Policing For Profit
Senate Bill 380 would require a conviction in order to seize assets, with a few exceptions. Furthermore, it calls for measures to prevent law enforcement agencies from profiting from the forfeited assets, a problem frequently referred to as policing for profit. Instead, proceeds would go to the county treasurer.
Only time will tell whether civil forfeiture rules will be reformed. In the meantime, people accused of crimes who have had their assets seized need to act quickly, not only to fight criminal charges, but to reclaim seized assets, if possible.
If You Have Had Assets Seized
Assets can be seized in any criminal case. They are often seized in relation to theft crimes and drug charges like drug sale, delivery or manufacturing. Assets seized can include cash, cars and even real estate or entire businesses.
If you have been accused of a crime and had assets taken by police, you need an experienced lawyer on your side. Options for reclaiming seized assets are limited and time-sensitive, so you must act quickly.