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Civil Forfeiture

Atlanta, Georgia Civil Forfeiture Attorney

When someone takes your property, you're expected to call the police. But who are you supposed to turn to when the police are the ones taking your property? Believe it or not, this happens all the time, as part of a practice called asset forfeiture, where police seize property from citizens based only on suspicion of wrongdoing.

Although criminal forfeiture requires the person having their property taken is convicted of a crime, civil forfeiture does not. Instead, your property will be charged with involvement in a crime, allowing police to legally confiscate it from you. Georgia is widely known for having forfeiture laws that make it especially easy for law enforcement agencies to seize property, with poor protections for innocent property owners and as much as 100% of the proceeds going directly to law enforcement.

The Equitable Sharing Program allows state and local police agencies to collaborate with federal agencies in order to seize property from individuals before transferring the seized property to federal control. This allows local agencies to skirt certain state-level regulations limiting forfeiture. Georgia has an especially high rate of equitable sharing, with police receiving an estimated 17 million each year in forfeiture proceeds.

The intention behind forfeiture laws is good, but the potential for abuse is high. Innocent people lose their property and money to forfeiture laws, and without a good criminal defense lawyer, it is unlikely they will get it back.

What to Do If the Police Take Your Property

Once law enforcement officials seize your property, you will need to make a claim to it. You will have thirty days from the notice of forfeiture being sent to you to respond. After you respond, you will have to prepare a claim, laying out the facts of the property and why it should not be subjected to Georgia's forfeiture laws. You will then be required to send the claim to the police department that took your property, along with the District Attorney in charge of your case.

Your property will then be subjected to legal action to determine whether it was involved in a crime. Forfeiture proceedings use a standard known as preponderance of the evidence. This means that the burden of proof is on the person who is trying to get their property back. This standard makes it more difficult to get your property back and more likely that said property will be forfeited to the state of Georgia, should you not have good legal counsel on your side.

The recent Supreme Court case Timbs v. Indiana has made it harder for law enforcement to seize and keep your property by invoking the Eighth Amendment's excessive fines clause. Even then, many people do not know how to get their property back. That's why you should contact the Don Turner Legal Team for a free consultation today. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys can help you protect what’s yours

Client Reviews
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My wife and I worked with Don on a personal injury case. We appreciate his help in helping us navigate something that neither of us anticipated dealing with. Him and his staff was helpful all along the way. Stephen Newland
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I can’t say enough about Don and his team! If you need legal help this is the firm for you. Very professional and attentive and their willingness to take the time and explain each step along the way. Michele Mollon
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We are very pleased with the service of the Don Turner Legal Team. They are a very friendly and professional team. Our case has been represented by Lisanne Edelman and she helped us enormously with a great end result. Marnix du Clou
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I recently got a traffic citation and was all stressed out on what to do. Luckily, I had a friend who used the services of Lisanne Edelman and the firm at Don Turner Legal Team. Once I called I felt so much more comfortable with my situation and could take a big sigh of relief. Terry Sharp