Police can seize assets if they merely have a suspicion that these will be, or have been, used in the commission of a crime. This power is known as asset forfeiture. This has been lauded as a way to deter serious crimes such as those involving drug trafficking. There are now stricter guidelines on what may be seized on a federal level, but each state also has their own laws and guidelines. Here is what you need to be aware of to protect your rights to your property.
If you suspect that your children or others living in your home are engaging in drug activity, it would be wise to discuss this with them and monitor closely what is going on. You may need to set limits on who can enter your home and do room searches to make sure drugs or paraphernalia are not being kept there. You have to be on guard against unjust enforcement and follow drug laws to the letter to protect yourself. You may find yourself especially at risk if you own your property outright.
Your Rental Property
Rental property can be seized if the tenants are engaging in illegal activities, whether it can be proved that you have had prior knowledge and were allowing it or not, so you should screen prospective tenants carefully.
You should be careful who you loan your car to, because this too can be seized if the person who is using it is suspected of soliciting another person for sex, engaging in drug activities, thievery or other criminal activities.
If you want to buy a car or other large item and are traveling a distance to see it, don't carry large amounts of cash with you. Instead, have the money wired to you or pay with a cashier's check once you have decided to purchase the item.
When going on a flight, you will want to pay for airline tickets with a credit or bank card. Otherwise the ticket agents may report you to authorities for suspected drug or terrorism activity. You could end up being searched and having your cash and other valuables confiscated.
Finally, don't hoard money at home, and don't make large bank deposits when you don't have a clear explanation or paper trail for where the cash came from. The bank will report these large transactions to the tax/federal authorities and you could find yourself the subject of an investigation. This will inevitably cause your bank accounts to be frozen.
Even though asset forfeiture does curb criminal activity in the US, sometimes innocent people get unfairly targeted for asset forfeiture. If this has happened to you, you will need to contact an attorney, such as Jack Weatherill Law Offices, that is experienced in dealing with these type of cases.