Seized Assets Forfeiture Attorney
(Civil & Criminal)

Michael Devereux, An Elite Civil & Criminal Asset Forfeiture Attorney

Michael has 20 years experience challenging civil and criminal asset forfeiture proceedings at the administrative level and in court for federal and state seizures.

Michael's experience includes a range of assets seized from $2,500 to over $100 million. The assets range from a motorcycle clubs patch to firearms to ammunition to vehicles to real estate to airplanes to cash and other financial instruments. Claimants can be doctors, real estate owners, white collar workers, blue collar workers, bikers, club members, legitimate cannabis businesses and their owners / employees, etc. A claimant can be innocent and completely surprised or someone that knew his/her days were numbered.

Forfeiture was originally presented as a way to cripple large-scale criminal enterprises by diverting their resources. But today, aided by deeply flawed federal and state laws, many police departments use forfeiture to benefit their bottom lines, making seizures motivated by profit rather than crime-fighting. For people whose property has been seized through civil asset forfeiture, legally regaining such property is notoriously difficult and expensive, with costs sometimes exceeding the value of the property.

In rem (civil) action for the forfeiture of specific property

Asset Forfeiture (Civil & Criminal)


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.

About Us

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.

Federal Forfeiture of Seized Assets

There are over 140 federal forfeiture statutes scattered throughout the federal code. They embrace civil as well as criminal forfeiture provisions. The forfeiture provisions include violations for scores of federal statutes for customs laws, IRS statutes, narcotics, money laundering, healthcare fraud, financial crimes, counterfeiting, immigration, Internet fraud, and obscenity laws.

In 2014, American police seized more assets from American citizens through civil asset forfeiture policies than burglars stole.

In 2015, law enforcement agencies on the federal, state, and local levels utilize a mechanism called civil asset forfeiture, in which officers and agents may lawfully seize the property or money of individuals they suspect of committing or helping to commit a crime. An individual targeted by civil asset forfeiture need not be arraigned in court, nor do they need to be convicted of a crime. Sufficient probable cause to seize property, as the FBI explains, is defined as “reasonable ground for belief of guilt.”


The Best

in Their Fields

If you or your business is facing a forfeiture matter, contact us today to arrange a free initial consultation with an attorney.

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What People Say

Why Choose Us

  • Rich Experience

    Michael Devereux has authored several articles on Forfeiture Law including the two below.

  • Our Beliefs

    Experience gets the job done. Wex Law attorneys have more than 20 years of forfeiture practice.

  • Great Results

    Results are only successful when we make a difference in your life. We’ll help you make that difference.