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3 ways states are challenging asset forfeiture laws

Being accused of criminal conduct like embezzlement can be enormously upsetting, particularly if you have never been in trouble with the law before. There are many difficult lessons you can wind up learning, including the fact that police can seize your money or property if they believe it is tied to criminal activity.

Considering how unfair this practice is and how often it is exploited for the benefit law enforcement agencies across the country, it is promising to hear that numerous states are challenging asset forfeiture laws in a few different ways.

  1. They are making it harder to seize assets. Some states now require police to have a higher standard of proof tying property to criminal activity. This is already in place in North Carolina.
  2. They are changing where the assets go. In many jurisdictions, property and money is kept and used by law enforcement agents, which gives them considerable motivation to seize assets whenever possible. Some states are working to redirect assets to other funds, which North Carolina also does already. Instead of going to law enforcement agencies, seized property profits go toward funding public schools.
  3. They are closing legal loopholes. There are gaps in legislation that allows state and federal enforcement agencies to cooperate and then share 80 percent of the assets seized rather than comply with state restrictions.

It is important to note that these and other reform measures primarily target civil asset forfeiture, which is different from criminal asset forfeiture. In criminal cases, assets are forfeited only if a person is convicted as is part of the person’s punishment.

As states across the country consider and pass laws reforming civil asset forfeiture, it is important for residents here in North Carolina to be clear on their rights and protections, which vary from state to state. Understand, also, that there are different rules in place if you are facing federal charges.

If you are accused of criminal activity and at risk of losing your money and property, it is crucial that you act fast and consult an attorney. With legal guidance, you can protect yourself, your freedom and your assets.

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