CAN A STATE FILE FORFEITURE WITHOUT A CRIMINAL CASE?

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CAN A STATE FILE FORFEITURE WITHOUT A CRIMINAL CASE?

Asked on June 3, 2009 under Criminal Law, Indiana

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Probably.  Both the legal issues, and the standard of proof, are different in forfeiture cases, as opposed to criminal prosecutions.

In a criminal case, the defendant is an individual, and the state has to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a crime was committed and that the defendant did it.

For a forfeiture, the "defendant" is actually the property that's being targeted;  you get case names like, "United States vs. $13,445.00 in U.S. Currency," or "State of Minnesota vs. One 2002 Chevrolet Corvette."  The state only has to prove that the property was somehow connected to criminal behavior that is grounds for forfeiture, and it only has to be proved by a "preponderance of the evidence."  A criminal conviction against the owner usually does the trick, but it isn't necessary.

You need the help of an experienced lawyer, to resist a forfeiture case against your property.  One place to find an attorney is our website, http://attorneypages.com


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