Government
Cash Seizures During Criminal Investigations

Government Cash Seizures During Criminal Investigations

When government agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) conduct criminal investigations, they wield every tool in their arsenal. One of the most potent tools they have available is commonly referred to as criminal asset forfeiture, or the government’s ability to seize the property and assets of an individual suspected of committing federal crimes.

If you have been accused of a crime and had your cash and other property seized by a government agency, it’s vital to know your rights and to secure legal representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A New York City cash seizure attorney can help you determine your best options for having your cash and other property returned as quickly as possible.

How Can an Attorney Help Me?

When you have been arrested and charged with federal crimes, the agency conducting the investigation and arrest will likely move to seize your property and assets as soon as possible. It is important to remember that while the burden of proof for the criminal charges in question still rests on the government, the evidence required for initiating criminal asset forfeiture against a defendant is much lower. The government can effectively start seizing your cash and other assets much more easily than they can conduct an arrest

The criminal asset forfeiture laws in the United States aim to prevent people from profit lawbreaking and to maintain balance and integrity in the American economy. Unfortunately, this law isn’t always wielded equitably. If federal law enforcement agents seize your property and assets, an NYC cash seizure lawyer can help you build a civil action that could have your assets returned.

Attempting to navigate criminal proceedings without legal counsel is never a good idea, especially if you are involved in any way with a criminal case handled by the FBI, ATF, or DEA. The federal government has vast powers and resources when it comes to processing criminal cases through these agencies, and legal representation is essential for anyone in this situation. Your attorney will help ensure your rights are protected throughout the course of the case against you and help you minimize the penalties you face. This often includes recovering any of your property that was hastily seized by federal agents.

What Happened to My Money After Seizure?

Anyone facing federal felony charges will likely wonder how they can hope to defend against a case from the federal government, let alone recover cash and other property seized from them. Whenever the government conducts a criminal investigation and seizes cash and other assets from a suspect, the assets are transferred to an escrow account under the custodianship of the United States Marshals Office. The United States Treasury will assume control over the escrow account once the time limit is reached for the defendant to act. Typically, a formal letter concerning the seized assets is generated within 90 days of seizure, and the defendant has only 30 days to respond before the US Treasury absorbs their seized assets.

The government typically justifies its asset forfeiture procedures as a necessary part of the war on drugs and organized crime in the United States. Unfortunately, cash seizure rules are often abused, and people charged with crimes have proven their innocence only to realize their property and assets were wrongfully seized, and they have no idea how to recover them. It’s vital to take immediate action after a cash seizure and to work closely with your defense attorney to recover everything you can as quickly as possible.

Getting Your Money Back

Your NYC cash seizure attorney can help you respond to the formal notice concerning your seized assets and help you determine the best next steps to take. In most cases, you will need to file a civil action to prevent the government from taking complete control over your funds. Remember that your attorney should not only assist you in recovering your seized assets, but also provide you with guidance for defending against the government’s charges against you.

If you are found guilty, any civil motions you have in place will likely fail, and the government will seize all of the property and assets they can connect to your illegal activities. Remember that it is illegal to launder money from illegal activities in the United States. If you were investigated for drug offenses and cash was seized by federal agents, claiming the cash as profits from illicit drug sales, you will likely face money laundering charges in addition to drug possession and sale charges.

Know Your Rights

One of the most common mistakes people make after an arrest by federal agents is believing there is no hope of defending against charges levied by the US government. This type of criminal case is far more daunting than a criminal case processed at the state level, but the accused still has the same rights to legal representation as anyone else. After your arrest, seek immediate legal counsel. An experienced NYC cash seizure attorney can not only help you recover your seized assets but also help you build the foundation of your defense. You must never sign anything or talk to federal investigators until you meet with a defense attorney.

If you are charged with money laundering and had no idea that you were involved in any kind of illegal activity, call our firm as soon as possible. Your NYC cash seizure attorney can help you gather evidence to prove your innocence while stalling the criminal asset forfeiture procedures initiated against you. One of the worst aspects of cash seizure conducted by federal agencies is the fact that it can leave the individual without any assets at all, and thus unable to hire a defense attorney.

At the Law Offices of Robert Tsigler, PLLC, we understand how intimidating it can be to feel like the entire US government is working against you. We acknowledge the financial hardship that unjustified cash seizure can inflict on you and your loved ones. If you need a compassionate and dedicated NYC cash seizure lawyer, you can rely on our team to provide the guidance and support you need to make it through your case. Contact the Law Offices of Robert Tsigler, PPLC today to schedule a meeting with an experienced New York City cash seizure attorney.

We Set the Bar Others Strive to Reach

While criminal asset forfeiture is largely uncontroversial, civil asset forfeiture is a far more contentious subject. Civil asset forfeiture is similar to criminal asset forfeiture in that it is a legal vehicle for stripping illegally obtained property from an individual, or seizing property used in the commission of a crime. Unlike criminal asset forfeiture, civil asset forfeiture occurs against the property itself and does not require the owner to undergo due process under the law.

The civil forfeiture laws of the United States and the state of New York include verbiage that allows law enforcement officials more flexibility in the seizing of assets. Basically, the standard for seizure in civil asset forfeiture is a “preponderance of the evidence” rather than the “beyond a reasonable doubt,” as is the case for criminal asset forfeiture. Seizure of assets also takes place first in civil asset forfeiture instead of at the conclusion of a criminal case as it does with criminal asset forfeiture.

Many argue that existing civil asset forfeiture laws allow the justice system to essentially circumvent Americans’ Constitutional protections against illegal search and seizure. One of the worst aspects of current civil asset forfeiture laws is the fact that they basically allow any government agency, such as the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), or the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to seize any property they suspect may be connected to a crime before they even file charges. This same right extends to state and federal law enforcement officers and agencies. These entities also have incentive to keep the property they seized, including money recovered through civil asset forfeiture.

Vehicular Assault – A vehicular assault may fall under the category of a Class E or Class D felony in New York state. A common example of vehicular assault is when a driver has a blood alcohol level above the legal limit and causes bodily harm to another person while operating a vehicle. If the vehicular assault results in a fatality, the driver could be charged with vehicular manslaughter. Depending on the specific circumstances, a vehicular manslaughter conviction may result in a jail sentence of up to 25 years and $5,000 in fines, according to DrivingLaws.com.

Gang Assault – When someone teams up with one or more individuals to commit an assault on another person, this is considered a gang assault in New York. The National Gang Center states that a first-degree gang assault is considered a class B felony while a second-degree gang assault is classified as a class C felony. A person charged with a class B felony may have to serve a prison term of between five and twenty-five years. A class C felony is a less serious offense and does not require a sentence longer than seven years.

Assault on a Police Officer – Physically harming a police officer is considered a serious offense in New York and could leave you with a class C felony on your record. An aggravated assault of a police officer is considered a class B felony, which may carry a prison sentence of up to 30 years. According to YPDCrime.com, you could face similar charges if you assault a peace officer, paramedic or firefighter.

Assault in the 3rd Degree – This broad category comes with a class A felony charge, which is the highest degree of felony and may include life imprisonment. Justia describes this type of assault as someone who causes harm to another person in a reckless or criminally negligent manner with egregious damages.

Facing asset forfeiture can be a very difficult experience and hiring the right attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. Many people feel hopeless when facing asset forfeiture, even if they have been wrongfully accused of a crime and face civil asset forfeiture, simply because it seems too expensive to try and fight it.

An attorney with experience in federal criminal defense as well state-level criminal defense can represent you in a criminal case and help you prove that your assets and property were not obtained illegally or eligible for criminal asset forfeiture. This may require extensive research and providing specific documentation to the court. When it comes to civil asset forfeiture, the right attorney can help you provide the evidence you need to show that your assets and property are unconnected to any criminal activity.

The Law Offices of Robert Tsigler can give you legal guidance to help you throughout each phase of the process. Your case will be examined in a timely manner so that you can start preparing for court sooner. Call today to receive a consultation.

When you have had your property and assets unfairly seized, or if you expect to face criminal asset forfeiture due to a criminal charge, you need an attorney with extensive experience handling asset forfeiture proceedings. A good asset forfeiture attorney will help you determine what documentation you will need to produce to get your property back.

At the Law Offices of Robert Tsigler, PLLC, our attorneys have a stellar track record of winning cases for thousands of clients in New York City. We take a client-focused approach to criminal defense and our legal team will get to know your situation in the most detail possible for the most comprehensive legal representation. Our goal is to eliminate uncertainty for you during a difficult time and help you maintain control over your rightfully owned property and assets.

We serve a diverse range of clients facing asset forfeiture and can provide legal counsel in English, Spanish, Russian, Hebrew, Mandarin, and Hungarian.  If you need legal representation for civil or criminal asset forfeiture, our attorneys will be available to answer your questions 24 hours a day until you get results. We understand how difficult it can be and how hopeless you might feel when facing criminal or civil asset forfeiture, so contact our firm today to schedule a free consultation about your case.

An attorney with experience in federal criminal defense as well state-level criminal defense can represent you in a criminal case and help you prove that your assets and property were not obtained illegally or eligible for criminal asset forfeiture. This may require extensive research and providing specific documentation to the court. When it comes to civil asset forfeiture, the right attorney can help you provide the evidence you need to show that your assets and property are unconnected to any criminal activity.

The Law Offices of Robert Tsigler can give you legal guidance to help you throughout each phase of the process. Your case will be examined in a timely manner so that you can start preparing for court sooner. Call today to receive a consultation.

The Asset Forfeiture & Seizure firm of Robert Tsigler, PLLC is Ready to Fight for You!

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.

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