Under Pennsylvania forfeiture law, the Government can ask to seize the property it claims was used for crime or purchased with ill-gotten gains. Forfeiture law has become a ubiquitous part of the “War on Drugs.” Typically, the Government files a forfeiture action to take the home, car, or cash reserves of someone convicted of a drug offense. Although forfeiture actions are related to criminal cases, they are technically civil in nature—meaning that the Government’s burden of proof is lower and it is easier for the state to win.
Too often, families reeling from the conviction and incarceration of a loved one give up on forfeiture actions without a fight. Anyone who has ever had a joint checking account knows that money mingles. It can be hard to determine exactly which assets are the product of hard work and which are the product of crime. But if you don’t respond to a forfeiture lawsuit, you may end up losing assets that have nothing to do with crime and are important for your future.
If you or a family member has been convicted of a crime and is facing a forfeiture action, don’t ignore it. Schedule an appointment with an MCR criminal defense attorney. We will review your case to see how you can challenge a forfeiture claim. In some cases, we can negotiate with the Government to recover your assets without returning to court.