New Jersey Civil Forfeiture Lawyers
Civil forfeiture can be a significant life-changing time when someone’s valuable possessions are taken by the police. These charges are related to any portion of property the accused owns that police, Customs and Border Patrol, or other government entities believe was not properly declared (e.g. at the airport) or used in connection with a criminal offense or was bought with money received while committing a crime (illegal money).
If property was used for illegal purposes (e.g. gambling or prostitution), the property can be taken as evidence for the case. If your case involved illicit drugs and you transported the drugs (or had illegal weapons or additional types of illicit items) in your automobile, boat or ATV, those pieces of property can be taken by the state as well.
If the prosecutor has filed a civil forfeiture case against your property, you should discuss your case with civil forfeiture lawyers with experience and proficiency in these kinds of legal matters.
New Jersey Law – Civil Forfeitures
According to SENATE, No. 1324, STATE OF NEW JERSEY, 218th LEGISLATURE (INTRODUCED FEBRUARY 1, 2018), 2. N.J.S.2C:64-1 (amended statutes) states the laws regarding which property is subject to forfeiture:
- Any money received from illicit transactions (selling illegal drugs or other illegal items)
- Any weapons or other illicit items used while committing a crime (drug dealing, e.g.)
- Money used for illegal gambling
- Property used while committing such crimes (like vehicles, e.g.)
The state of New Jersey has ninety days to file a civil claim (after property has been seized), which must detail why they believe the property was used to commit such crimes, even if it was not used for illegal activities. The state must prove their case. The civil suit is filed to allow the state to seize your real or personal property. In the details of the suit, the state of New Jersey must be able to prove that you, the defendant, used your real estate, automobile, or other items and that a crime was committed.
If, for example, you have a lien-holder on your car or home, the state does not normally win. Also, if you were not engaged in criminal activities and did not use properties for such crimes, you cannot be judiciously held accountable for the crime and are not expected to be punished.
What Happens if You are Convicted – Civil Forfeiture
The state, as mentioned above, sends you a forfeiture complaint (within ninety days from the time property has been seized). You, the defendant, must reply to the complaint within thirty-five days. In your reply, you will answer the complaint and explain the reasons you believe you are not accountable and that your car, home, etc. should be returned. You also send a copy of your answer to the county prosecutor.
If the state of New Jersey fails to send the complaint by the deadline, you might want to contact experienced civil forfeiture lawyer s for assistance. If that situation arises, you are still dealing with the courts and attempting to get the Judge to dismiss complaints like these is difficult as well.
Once you send your reply to the state’s complaint, you will receive documentation of a court date. During the trial, N.W. must prove its case. You will prove your case as well. During the hearing, you can bring witnesses.
If your property (real or personal) was used to commit illegal crimes and you did not realize the criminal activities occurred and that your property was involved in such transactions (and your home or other items were seized), you must prove your case in that situation as well.
Civil Forfeiture Lawyers
Has your home or other personal property been seized by the state of New Jersey (or the police) because they believe it was used while committing crimes like drug dealing, transporting drugs, selling illegal items (like weapons), illegal gambling, prostitution, etc., and you believe you are innocent?
You will need attorneys who are experienced and proficient in civil and criminal laws. With civil forfeiture, two scenarios can happen; a civil case is built against you and a criminal case is built against you – by two different prosecutors.
Our attorneys have years of experience with civil and criminal litigation. We are here to offer sound legal advice and counsel, and to help you protect what is rightfully yours – your property and your good name. Since these types of court cases are so complex and involve many different statutes, laws and codes, it is important to have legal experts with this kind of education and experience.