Reports of illegal searches and asset forfeiture abuses have become more common in the news, and many people are beginning to wonder how they can protect themselves against unauthorized actions by law enforcement.
In their zeal to stop illegal activities, police in Arizona may overstep the bounds of the law in their pursuit of criminal actions. Each state has their own laws regarding the taking of property that is involved in criminal or illegal acts. To ensure that all legal protections have been afforded to you in these circumstances, you may need to seek legal counsel.
A search and seizure attorney in Arizona can inform residents about their rights under the law
When Does Law Enforcement Use Search and Seizure?
“Search and seizure” are legal concepts which play a pivotal role in investigating and prosecuting criminal and civil offenses. A search aims to unearth evidence linking accused parties with the commission of an offense while asset seizure may help establish motive for it.
Financial gain derived from criminal activities does not increase one’s chances of conviction or harsher penalties; judge or jury verdict will make that determination.Law enforcement officials must abide by the 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution when conducting searches and seizures, to protect citizens against unlawful searches conducted without due process of law.
Asset forfeiture is frequently used in cases involving drug possession, paraphernalia possession, fraud, marijuana possession and even homicide. However, asset forfeiture must always follow legal processes; any violation may lead to inadmissible evidence in court proceedings.
Legal and Illegal Searches
The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution protects individuals against unlawful searches and seizures by state-employed law enforcement officials, regardless of where they may be stopped – be it on a street corner, in their vehicle, at work, hotel room or home – so long as there is an expectation of privacy.
However, each state has their own laws and procedures which define when searches or seizures may be justified. Searches conducted by law enforcement officials often arise into debate due to judges who interpret statutes broadly to allow for the investigation of crimes; as a result, searches conducted may violate constitutional protections, leading to possible invalid searches being conducted.
Understanding Asset Forfeiture
Asset forfeiture is a legal process by which governments can seize assets believed to have been involved in illegal activity, such as houses, cars, jewelry and artwork from those believed to have engaged in it. Note that only assets directly involved can be subject to asset seizure proceedings.
As forfeiture abuse remains an issue in many states despite strong legal prohibitions against it, law enforcement may seize assets to benefit themselves – an incentive to seize even when there is no direct evidence linking the property with criminal activity – sparking concerns about possible abuse of power by law enforcement officials. This controversial practice has raised eyebrows.
Criminal and Civil Forfeiture
Criminal and civil forfeitures are two legal processes utilized by governments for seizing assets. Criminal forfeiture refers to actions taken by legal authorities against property directly associated with crimes; while civil forfeitures involve seizing assets by civil means. Government prosecution requires evidence that property used or acquired through illegal means was used or acquired from criminal activity; civil forfeiture acts solely against the property itself without regard to whether its owner has committed any offenses. Civil and criminal forfeiture procedures have differing goals: the former requires law enforcement agencies to demonstrate that a property has links with criminal activity while, with criminal forfeiture procedures, their assets can be returned more efficiently and with greater regulation. Civil forfeiture can often lead to abuse by law enforcement while criminal forfeiture procedures tend to be more regulated procedures that benefit both sides involved.
Common Asset Forfeiture Abuses
The problem of abuse of asset forfeiture laws has become common is news stories from around the country. In many cases, the owners of the assets do not have to be convicted of any crime or wrongful activity, nor do they even have to be arrested to have their property taken.
The assets simply have to be named in an investigation in order for to be available for forfeiture. This looseness of interpretation has led to individuals taking governments to court to recover their assets, time spent on legal actions for wrongful forfeitures in the court system and public money being used to defend forfeiture actions.
Search and Seizure Laws
Arizona’s search and seizure laws have long been a cause for worry among its residents, especially when it comes to asset forfeiture. Law enforcement may seize assets without immediate proof of cause for forfeiture; thus putting the burden of proof squarely on the owner who must then file suit to claim ownership and show that their property was not involved in an alleged crime or civil dispute; additionally if their case fails successfully they could incur costs associated with legal defense for the state if their case fails successfully.
An innocent party can be punished twice by asset forfeiture laws in Arizona: first by having their property taken due to false allegations of illegal activity, and secondly by being required to pay legal costs back to the state if their ownership cannot be proven successfully. As such, citizens may become dissuaded from challenging asset forfeiture cases; it’s essential that legal advice be sought to fully understand your rights and options in these instances.
What To Do If Your Assets Have Been Seized in Arizona
Law enforcement is not always correct in their assessment of a situation in which a crime may have occurred. In some cases, innocent parties can become entangled in the process of investigation and prosecution, with a variety of negative consequences.
Overzealous prosecutors may seize any number of assets, including homes, vehicles or bank accounts if they believe you have profited as a result of a crime, or even if they simply feel they can get away with it. If you have been the victim of an illegal search or asset forfeiture, you require the services of an experienced attorney who knows the legal intricacies in great detail and can provide the following services:
- Research prior legal decisions that may be applicable to your case
- Determine ways to relate the circumstances of your case to prior decisions
- Utilize the applicable professional reasoning to make your case before a judge
Asset forfeiture is not always a question of justified actions by law enforcement. If you have been involved in an unauthorized search or seizure, contact a search and seizure attorney in Arizona to learn your legal recourse and how to protect your interests.
Call JacksonWhite to Get the Results You Need
If you need an Arizona search and seizure attorney then JacksonWhite Criminal Defense will provide you with the representation that you need. Do not face the courts alone.
Call the JacksonWhite Criminal Law team at (480) 418-4281 to discuss your case today.