South Carolina Drug Crime Attorneys – Asset Forfeiture
Driving down I-95 headed to the beach and blue lights start flashing. You’ve been pulled over for speeding in a work zone. When you open up your glove box to pull out your registration the cash you were carrying for your vacation falls out. Before you know it, the highway patrol has everyone out of the car and you are being searched.
One of the passengers is arrested for cocaine. Even though you had no idea that cocaine was in the car, and the officer tells you that the cash you had on you for the week and your car are being forfeited.
What law enforcement did not tell you is that if there is a valid claim for seizing money or other assets, such as a car or home, the officer must file an action and a judge must determine whether there was probable cause for the officer to take your money or other assets.
Many times an officer will try to make you consent on the spot so that they can avoid the formalities and delay associated with bringing the matter before a judge.
The authority to seize cash or property connected to drugs comes from our Federal and State law.
Common reasons for forfeiture include classification as:
• Contraband including illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia;
• Proceeds related to illegal activity including cash received for selling drugs;
• Tools or Property used in the commission of a crime such as a car or house
Unfortunately, there are often situations where large amounts of money are seized even when there is no relationship to drugs or illegal activity. You have due process rights that must be protected. Don’t let your fear of dealing with law enforcement prevent you from protecting what is yours.