Illinois law enforcement organizations maintain a steady flow of cash through the seizure of property confiscated from criminal suspects and those convicted of a crime. More than $30 million in property is taken each year through civil asset forfeiture, which allows confiscation from convicted persons and even citizens who do not end up facing criminal charges. Additionally, research indicates that these seizures disproportionately affect poor and minority communities.
If your property has been seized by law enforcement, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can determine the validity of the actions taken by police and who will stand up for your rights in court.
Illinois Asset Forfeiture Laws
Asset forfeiture is the legal process in which the government can confiscate an individual’s property. It can be enacted under state or federal law if investigators believe the property was used in a crime or if it was purchased with proceeds from a crime. Asset forfeiture is commonly used in drug cases and white-collar crime cases. Seized property is typically sold by the government at auction for a profit, unless the property owner acts quickly with the help of a skilled attorney.
Largely due to public outcry, Illinois’ asset forfeiture statutes were amended in 2017, and the new law went into effect last year. Changes include:
- The burden of proving a suspect’s guilt now rests with the government, instead of the property owner having to prove their innocence.
- Innocent property owners can have their cases adjudicated quicker.
- Property owners do not have to pay a “cost bond” prior to their case being heard by a judge.
- Small amounts of cash are not subject to forfeiture, and possession of a small amount of drugs is not enough for property seizure to go into effect.
- Law enforcement must publicly report all seizures and forfeitures and how they spent the proceeds.
While these changes may help some victims of unreasonable property seizure, policing for profit still exists. Regaining confiscated property remains a challenge, and it is a task for an adept defense attorney with impeccable knowledge of the law.
Contact a Wheaton Asset Forfeiture Attorney
At Anderson Attorneys & Advisors, we fight for the rights of Illinois citizens whose property has been unjustly seized by law enforcement. Attorney Audriana Anderson, a former DuPage County State’s Attorney’s office prosecutor, delivers aggressive legal representation to protect clients’ property. To learn more about how we can help you today, contact a DuPage County criminal defense lawyer at 630-877-5800 for a free and confidential consultation.