If you face asset forfeiture, you need to know about your options and what will happen. Keep reading for the basics that you need to know about asset forfeiture.
The state of Connecticut, like the vast majority of states, authorizes civil forfeitures. The state can take your property if they have clear and convincing evidence. The evidence must prove that the property in question relates to criminal activity and thus subject to forfeiture. In addition, the state can take your car, or any cash you have. They can do this if they think it relates to criminal activity. This happens a lot in drug sale cases.
Things to Remember
It is important to keep in mind that:
- Once your property gets seized, you have a burden of proof. You must prove that you did not know the property had use in connection with criminal activity.
- Sixty percent of the proceeds from asset forfeiture are retained by Connecticut law enforcement.
- The state also collects the bail bonds forfeited in criminal cases. This happens where a defendant released on bond does not appear in court.
Here are some additional facts to keep in mind.
- Connecticut, like most states, authorizes civil forfeitures.
- If the state has evidence that your property relates to criminal activity, they can take it.
- The state can take your car, or any cash you have if they think it relates to criminal activity. This can happen in drug cases.
- Once your property is seized, you must prove that you did not know the property related to criminal activity.
- 60% of the proceeds from asset forfeiture get retained by Connecticut law enforcement.
- The state also collects the bail bonds forfeited in criminal cases if a defendant who has been released on bond does not appear in court.
Connecticut’s Asset Forfeiture Statute
Sec. 54-33g. Summons to owner on seizure of property. In rem action for adjudication as nuisance. Disposition of property.
When any property believed to be possessed, controlled, designed or intended for use or which is or has been used or which may be used as a means of committing any criminal offense, except a violation of section 21a-267, 21a-277, 21a-278 or 21a-279, has been seized as a result of a lawful arrest or lawful search, which the state claims to be a nuisance and desires to have destroyed or disposed of in accordance with the provisions of this section, the judge or court issuing the warrant or before whom the arrested person is to be arraigned shall, within ten days after such seizure, cause to be left with the owner of, and with any person claiming of record a bona fide mortgage, assignment of lease or rent, lien or security interest in, the property so seized, or at their usual place of abode, if they are known, or, if unknown, at the place where the property was seized, a summons notifying the owner and any such other person claiming such interest and all others whom it may concern to appear before such judge or court, at a place and time named in such notice, which shall be not less than six nor more than twelve days after the service thereof.
If the owner of such property shall make a party defendant in such case. Any state’s attorney or assistant state’s attorney may appear. Also, they can prosecute such complaint. Also, they shall have the burden of proving all material facts by clear and convincing evidence.
If the judge or court finds the allegations made in such complaint true and that the property got possessed, controlled or designed for use. Or had intended use, with intent to violate or in violation of any of the criminal laws of this state, except a violation of section 21a-267, 21a-277, 21a-278 or 21a-279. Also, he shall render judgment that such property constitutes a nuisance and order the destruction of the property or disposed of to a charitable or educational institution or to a governmental agency or institution provided, if any such property constitutes bona fide mortgage, assignment of lease or rent, lien or security interest, such property shall not get so destroyed or disposed of in violation of the rights of the holder of such interest.
When any money or valuable prize gets seized upon such warrant and condemned under the provisions of this section, such money or valuable prize shall go to the state and when the property constitutes money it shall get deposited in the General Fund, provided any such property, which at the time of such order gets subject to a bona fide mortgage, assignment of lease or rent, lien or security interest shall remain subject to such mortgage, assignment of lease or rent, lien or security interest.
When any property or valuable prize has been declared a nuisance and condemned under this section, the court may also order that such property be sold by sale at public auction in which case the proceeds shall become the property of the state and shall be deposited in the General Fund; provided, any person who has a bona fide mortgage, assignment of lease or rent, lien or security interest shall have the same right to the proceeds as he had in the property prior to sale. Final destruction or disposal of such property shall not happen until any criminal trial in which such property might have use as evidence finishes.
If the judge or court finds the allegations not true or that the property has not been kept with intent to violate or in violation of the criminal laws of this state or that it the property of a person not a defendant, they shall order the property returned to the owner forthwith and the party in possession of such property pending such determination shall get liable for such property from the time of seizure and shall immediately comply with such order.
Failure of the state to proceed against such property in accordance with the provisions of this section shall not prevent the use of such property as evidence in any criminal trial.
Asset forfeiture laws can be complex. To ensure that you are getting the best defense to your case possible, consider contacting an attorney.