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What to Do When Your Cash Is Seized at an Airport

What to Do When Your Cash Is Seized at an Airport

Despite the many joys of traveling, it isn’t uncommon for travelers to face issues at the airport. Sometimes, these complications can be quite severe, as is the case for cash seizures.

Due to the enhanced security systems that you will face at a modern airport, it is surprisingly normal for Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Department of Homeland Security, or ICE agents to be patrolling there. Sometimes, an officer may even single you out from the other travelers, even if you weren’t expecting this and aren’t prepared to handle the situation. You might be too caught off guard to consider asking for a warrant.

Once the agent in question is inspecting your luggage, they’ll seek out any kind of contraband. This includes a suspicious or excessive amount of cash, which means that this cash will sometimes be seized and taken from you. In these instances, it’s difficult to know whether this cash will ever be returned. Much of the time, it won’t be.

If your cash is seized at an airport, it’s crucial to work with an experienced cash seizure attorney, such as those at Tsigler Law. We serve New York City, including Brooklyn, NY.

Legal Guidelines for Traveling With Sums of Cash

If you are ever planning to travel with a substantial amount of cash, it’s important to remain wary and keep a few pieces of information in mind. To begin, in general, remember that there isn’t a legal limit to the amount of cash you can bring to an airport. However, whenever you are traveling internationally, you’ll have to remember to declare sums of cash that exceed $10,000.

If you are ever planning to travel internationally with more than $10,000 in cash, make sure that you’re taking the correct precautions. First, when you arrive at Customs, you’ll need to fill out a FinCEN 105 form. Also, always be prepared to deal with questioning by law enforcement agents—you’ll need to be able to explain to them why you’re carrying such a large amount of cash. If Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers request that you undergo extra screening, allow this to occur. Additionally, never allow your carry-on luggage to end up out of sight.

However, if you are unable to explain to the TSA agent why you’re carrying a large sum of cash, they’ll file a report to the appropriate law enforcement agency, such as the DEA. Unfortunately, this often leads to a long and drawn-out process, which could even result in you missing your flight.

If it’s ever necessary for you to travel with a large amount of cash on hand or in your luggage, always make sure you have an explanation for officers. Of course, this will need to be a legitimate explanation to satisfy security officials at the airport.

Even if the money you’re carrying was obtained through lawful means, this doesn’t mean you won’t run into issues. First, this could still result in accusations from law enforcement officials, which can then lead to your money being confiscated from you—even if you’ve taken all the necessary precautions when traveling across borders with sums of cash. What do you do, then?

What to Do When Officers at an Airport Seize Your Cash

Sometimes, your money may be confiscated from you at an airport, whether or not you were expecting it to happen. Much of the time, this will occur without you having been prepared for it. Most travelers don’t actively consider how they’d manage this sort of situation in advance. Hence, most individuals aren’t familiar with the best course of action after having their money seized at Customs—whether it’s by DEA agents or another authority.

If you’d like to have the best possible chance of recouping the confiscated money, whether you are guilty of a crimeor not, you’ll need to take a few key actions. Although these won’t guarantee that your money is returned, they will significantly impact the likelihood that the return occurs.

Before all else, you must hire an attorney. More specifically, you should hire an asset forfeiture and seizure attorney who has experience dealing with cash seized by Customs. This is not a step that should ever be overlooked whenever you find yourself in this scenario. In addition, a lawyer will be able to make sure that court action is taken. This legal action could occur in a U.S. District Court or via early judicial intervention. In any case, without an attorney at your side, it will be extremely difficult to have your money returned to you.

Additionally, after the cash seizure attorney has been hired, they will quickly take some crucial actions. For instance, your lawyer will seek to ensure that any airport security footage of the incident can be used as evidence to support your claim. Once court proceedings have commenced, this can be valuable evidence—however, a demand must first be filed if you’d like this video footage to be reserved. Your attorney will obtain a court order, which that allows them to receive a copy of this video.

When Will Seized Money Be Returned?

A few common circumstances can lead to your money being returned if it was seized at an airport. These situations are:

  • -The search that uncovered the cash was deemed unconstitutional.
  • -No laws were contravened, and thus, no criminal charges were pressed.
  • -You didn’t receive notice of the seizure on time.
  • -The amount seized exceeded the limit set by the 8th Amendment, which dictates the maximum amount of money that Customs can keep.
  • -An oral amendment was made of the currency declaration, but this wasn’t honored by Customs.
Hire a NYC Asset Forfeiture & Seizure Attorney

If you’ve had cash seized at an airport, working with an attorney can make it far more likely that your money will be returned to you. If you are in the New York City area and have had cash seized by Customs, get in touch with the legal team at Tsigler Law today. To get started with us, simply contact us through our website, and set up a consultation.

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