Texas Asset Forfeiture Defense Attorney Fights for Your Property
Skilled and aggressive representation after law enforcement seizes assets
The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. However, Texas asset forfeiture laws, which allow for seizure of property allegedly used for criminal purposes, test the extent of that protection. Law enforcement authorities can seize property first and provide due process later. If you have had a motor vehicle, real estate, a computer, cash or other property seized because of an alleged connection to a crime, Kevin L. Collins, P.C. can provide the aggressive representation you need to pursue justice. Mr. Collins is a board-certified criminal defense attorney who will take decisive steps to recover your property while protecting your rights in a criminal prosecution.
The controversy surrounding Texas asset forfeiture laws
Criminal asset forfeiture is a law enforcement strategy used to fight organized crime by depriving alleged criminals of the means to carry on an illegal enterprise. The laws allow law enforcement to seize property that is either used in the commission of a crime or is the fruit of illegal activity. Authorities take control of assets during an investigation or while criminal charges are pending and then keep the property once a conviction is obtained.
Asset forfeiture was a successful tool to fight drug trafficking, starting in the mid-1980s. Not only did it deprive illegal enterprises of ill-gotten gains and the means to continue operating, but subsequent sale of confiscated goods funneled resources back into law enforcement coffers. Then, when agencies saw how much they could profit from seizing property, they expanded the tactic for use in policing lower-level crimes. Asset forfeiture has become a serious issue for everyday citizens who had a brush with the law. In many cases, property is permanently lost even when no criminal charges are brought or prosecutors fail to get a conviction. Efforts to reform civil asset forfeiture laws have stalled, so victims of this type of law enforcement must fight aggressively to have their property returned.
How to challenge criminal asset forfeiture in Texas
Although law enforcement can seize assets on suspicion, a forfeiture is completed only after the court issues an order permanently depriving a defendant of ownership. That order can come only after a conviction. You are entitled to a hearing on your confiscated property to prove that it was not used during the commission of a crime or obtained as a result of criminal activity. You can recover your property if you can show by a preponderance of the evidence that it should not have been confiscated.
Challenges to criminal asset forfeiture can be based on any of the following:
- Innocent owner — You were unaware that someone else used your property to commit a crime.
- Lack of criminal nexus — The property was not used in the commission of a crime.
- Prior ownership — Your property cannot be the fruit of illegal activity because you acquired it before the alleged crime was committed.
Property is also subject to forfeiture under federal law if it is used in the commission of a federal crime or is the fruit of illegal activity. Kevin L. Collins has ample experience in federal court to represent you capably against such serious charges.
Contact an effective criminal defense attorney in San Antonio for asset forfeiture cases
Kevin L. Collins, P.C. provides skilled and determined representation for clients in San Antonio, Texas and vicinity who have had property confiscated by state and federal law enforcement. To schedule a consultation, call 210-598-8629 or contact us online.