In personam action for the forfeiture of specific property
Asset forfeiture refers to (1) the seizure of cash, property, or other assets that are suspected of being tied to a criminal offense and (2) the transfer of ownership of these items to the government. Owners of the assets need not ever be arrested or convicted of a crime for their cash, cars, or other assets to be seized permanently by the government. The burden is upon the owner to prove the assets are innocently involved in any wrong doing.
In federal cases, you will get a Notice of Forfeiture, usually from the DEA or FBI. The notice will tell you the process, but it’s sometimes confusing. The important thing to remember is this: In order to have the right to any hearing in court to defend your property, you'll have to file a timely Administrative Claim.
It takes anywhere from a few months to several years. It’s important that you plan for the long haul. Know that your forfeiture case will cost money to litigate, and budget wisely. If you run out of money to pay your forfeiture attorney, you may end up representing yourself. Most forfeiture litigants who are forced to represent themselves lose. Shop around for a forfeiture lawyer you can afford. As the years drag on, there will be many times when the stress is overwhelming. You don’t have to face it alone. Discuss further with a forfeiture attorney.
Although these statutes take away virtually every procedural safeguard that citizens normally have in civil cases, and provide far less protection to innocent third parties than criminal defendants have in their criminal cases, they have been upheld over many constitutional challenges. The U.S. Supreme Court decided in 1996 that forfeiture is not punishment for double jeopardy purposes, and that there’s nothing unconstitutional about forfeiting the property of a truly innocent person. We can’t depend on the Supreme Court to correct the abuses of these horrible laws.
Michael Devereux is a highly respected forfeiture attorney in Los Angeles. Since 2004, Michael Devereux has represented property values exceeding $110 million in both civil and criminal federal forfeiture matters. His vast experience, zealous advocacy for his clients and extensive knowledge of many areas of federal forfeiture, has arguably earned him the best forfeiture attorney in America. Mr. Devereux started his own firm in 2004 after working for the Cochran Firm, and assisting with the Robert Blake and Michael Jackson defense teams under Thomas Mesereau. Former clients, their family and friends repeatedly return to Wexford Law for help in matters involving federal forfeiture. Mr. Devereux loves taking on the federal government and the State of California in forfeiture matters.
We have been very pleased with our experience with the Wex Law. Although we did not actually go to court, I felt that Mike was more than ready to fight his best for us. Our whole experience with all of the staff was very easy and enjoyable. Thank you for your work!
I am so glad we chose Wex Law firm to represent us. We were in a very bad legal situation. We were treated like family and were kept involved every step of the way. Thank you all who were involved in one way or other working our case!
Michael and his staff were great with making us feel comfortable during the process. They kept us updated on our case progress and were very helpful with all of the paperwork we needed to complete. We are very pleased with the outcome of everything.
Michael Devereux has authored several articles on Forfeiture Law including the two below.
Experience gets the job done. Wex Law attorneys have more than 20 years of forfeiture practice.
Results are only successful when we make a difference in your life. We’ll help you make that difference.