The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has many ways of dealing with drug crimes. Their goal is to dismantle those organizations that profit from the drug trade, and this is a noble effort. You may agree that the number of people and families in Georgia who have suffered because of drug addiction is epidemic. However, this does not mean law enforcement agencies, even at the federal level, can fight drug crimes by violating your rights.
One method DEA agents use to diminish the flow of drugs into the country is to seize assets from those accused of committing drug crimes at any level. While there are laws that protect you from unlawful seizure of your property, the federal government allows many exceptions and exemptions when it comes to drug crimes.
Can the DEA take your property?
If you are facing charges for federal drug crimes, you are at risk of losing your property. Any assets the DEA believes you used in the commission of a crime or that you gained from the profits of the drug trade may be fair game for confiscation. This may include your home if agents believe you conducted drug crimes there, your vehicle, your bank account and other valuables. Here are some important facts to know about asset forfeiture:
- Law enforcement considers the forfeiture of property to be part of your prosecution.
- Even if a court does not convict you, the government may still keep the property it seizes.
- If you want your belongings back, you will have to file a claim with the DEA and go through a complex legal process.
- In most cases, DEA agents need a warrant to seize your property, but this is not always true.
- The DEA may sell your property, and the proceeds from forfeited assets often go to police agencies.
The items authorities seize in their prosecution of you may actually have no connection to any drug crime. In fact, they may be assets you or your family acquired lawfully and which you need to provide a safe home for your loved ones. However, if police or DEA agents arrest you for drug crimes, you may watch agents taking your belongings away. If you are in danger of asset forfeiture related to accusations of drug crimes, you may benefit from the advice and representation of a skilled attorney.