What should you do if federal agents knock on your door and seize your belongings? How should you respond when you get a notice that the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has frozen or emptied your bank accounts? Where do you turn if a U.S. Marshal serves you with a notice that your house is subject to forfeiture? How do you get your belongings back?
The federal government wields tremendous power to seize and forfeit property linked to illegal conduct. Various federal statutes–such as 18 U.S.C. §§ 981, 984, and 21 U.S.C. § 881–permit the taking of houses, money, cars, electronics, and other similar things if the government can show that the property was used to commit a crime, or that the property was obtained with proceeds traceable to a crime. Often the government will claim the property is linked to illegal drug activity or money laundering. Often federal agents will take the property, even if the owner committed no crimes.
To get your property back, you need to navigate the abstruse procedures of federal civil forfeiture cases. These procedures raise questions for all but the experienced civil forfeiture attorney:
- When and how do you assert your claim to the property so that a federal court will recognize it?
- How do you explain your ownership of the property without admitting any complicity in illegal activity?
- How do you handle the civil forfeiture case without hurting yourself in a related criminal case?
The civil forfeiture attorneys at the Coughlin Law Group have the expertise to guide you through the process of challenging the government’s seizure and to fight on your behalf to get your property back. The civil forfeiture attorneys at the Coughlin Law Group will be able to assist you in:
- preparing and filing an administrative claim,
- filing a verified claim to establish standing to challenge a federal civil forfeiture suit,
- preparing appropriate defenses, like the innocent-owner defense under 18 U.S.C. § 983,
- responding to the government’s civil forfeiture complaint,
- investigating and defending against the government’s investigation in civil discovery,
- litigating substantive motions like motions for summary judgment and motions asserting your Fourth Amendment rights,
- fighting the case at trial, and
- negotiating a favorable settlement, if appropriate.
The civil forfeiture attorneys at the Coughlin Law Group combine expertise in criminal law and civil litigation to counsel and defend their clients, and to stop the government from taking what their clients worked so hard to earn.
Call the civil forfeiture attorneys at the Coughlin Law Group at 617-758-8888 for a free consultation.