Cash Seizures at Ports of Entry and Airports Lawyer

Have you recently been confronted by federal agents working for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) at an airport, train station, or other port of entry in New York City? If the DHS has filed criminal charges against you and seized the cash you had on hand, you are probably wondering how you can possibly recover your seized property.

When the DHS investigates an individual suspected of money laundering connected to illegal activity, they will do everything they can to prevent the individual from profiting from their criminal activity. The criminal asset forfeiture laws in place in the United States exist to prevent criminals from profiting off actions that harm the public and endanger innocent people, such as drug trafficking and fraud. Unfortunately, the cash seizure policies in place at the federal level do not always function as intended. If your cash has been wrongfully seized, or if you need help proving that seized cash is not connected to illegal activity, an NYC cash seizure attorney can help.

What Can an Attorney Do for Me?

An experienced defense attorney can assess the charges against you and determine your available defenses, but they can also assist with tangential matters like cash seizure. A New York City cash seizure lawyer can help you file a civil motion that will prevent the US government from taking complete control over your seized assets. For example, if you had a briefcase full of cash with you at the airport and DHS arrested you upon your arrival in NYC, they likely confiscated the briefcase. Your attorney can help you establish your defense and prove that seized assets are your legally obtained property.

Ultimately, it is always best to hire an experienced defense attorney whenever you are facing criminal charges of any kind. Even if you are innocent and think you can prove it on your own, facing down a government agency like the DHS without legal representation is not a good idea. The federal government can conduct criminal asset forfeiture after an individual has been convicted, but they don’t have to wait. They can typically seize cash and other assets immediately during an arrest if they have probable cause linking the seized assets to the criminal activity they are investigating. What they define as criminal activity may be as simple as migrating to the US.

Problems With Cash Seizure

The Money Laundering Act of 1986 was enacted to protect the American economy and the public from those seeking to profit from illegal activities. The Act allowed federal law enforcement agencies to pursue money laundering charges in addition to other criminal charges if the suspect’s criminal activity involved earning and handling money obtained through illegal means. For example, if a cocaine dealer made millions of dollars in illegal drug sales and purchased a Corvette, this is a form of money laundering under the Act. If the DHS or other federal agency investigated the individual for illegal cocaine sale and trafficking, their vehicle and any other property that was purchased with drug money would qualify for asset forfeiture.

There is also a large difference between criminal asset forfeiture, which takes place after an individual is tried and convicted, and civil asset forfeiture, which basically allows the government to seize property without the owner undergoing due process. Typically, the DHS only needs to meet the evidentiary standard of a “preponderance of the evidence” instead of the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard used in criminal proceedings. If you had your cash seized at a port of entry, it will likely fall under the umbrella of civil asset forfeiture. You will need to act quickly with the help of a New York City cash seizure lawyer.

At the Law Offices of Robert Tsigler, PLLC, our New York civil rights lawyers strongly believe in ensuring that violations do not occur. If they already have, we fight for fair recourse against abuse. Call today to learn more.

Defending Against Cash Seizure

One of the most difficult aspects of experiencing cash seizure at a port of entry or more invasive civil asset forfeiture is that the ordeal may leave you unable to afford legal representation for your criminal case. Once the government has seized control over your bank accounts and other assets, you may be left functionally penniless and unable to afford an attorney. This is one reason why it is so crucial to speak to an attorney immediately after an arrest conducted by the DHS. Just like an arrest conducted by local police, you have the right to remain silent and the right to legal counsel, and you should take full advantage of both of these rights and start building your defense as soon as possible.

The nebulous nature of civil asset forfeiture laws in the US means that it is not uncommon for individuals to be arrested at ports of entry and their cash seized without any idea what they have done wrong. In the event a person has been unknowingly connected to or participating in illegal activities, this could form an affirmative defense on their behalf and help them recover their seized property.

One of the most important services your NYC cash seizure attorney can provide in your case is helping you prove that seized cash and other assets are not ill-gotten gains and that you obtained the seized property through legal means. Remember that once the DHS has seized your cash and other property, they will issue a formal notice of the seizure within 90 days, and you will only have 30 days to respond before the United States Treasury assumes ownership over your seized cash and assets.

Find Your Lawyer Today

At the Law Offices of Robert Tsigler, PLLC, we know how devastating it can be to be arrested at a port of entry due to mistaken identity, a wrongful accusation, or an incomplete DHS investigation. Cash seizure can make you feel helpless. Attempting to challenge the US government may seem entirely out of the scope of possibility for you. However, this is not the case, and the right attorney can help you recover your seized cash and build a defense against the charges you face. If you have committed criminal acts, but the cash and assets seized were not connected to your illegal activities, your attorney can help you prevent those assets from becoming subject to seizure by the DHS or other federal agencies.

Contact the Law Offices of Robert Tsigler, PPLC today to schedule a consultation with an experienced New York City cash seizure lawyer. We will thoroughly review the charges against you and initiate defensive proceedings on your behalf to recover your cash as quickly as possible.

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