There are some laws that unintentionally make things difficult and at times even unfair for civilians. Laws related to drug possession and personal property forfeitures can be included in these unfair practices. What many people may not know is that the police, or any other government official, can legally search or seize your vehicle or real estate property after having a warrant to do so. Without a warrant their only option is to ask the owners’ permission to do so. Any evidence found during a search or property seizure done without permission from the owner or judge can be legally dismissed.
Circumstances causing Search or Seizures - If law enforcement suspects the property to be housing illegal activities such as drug storing or distribution, they can approach a judge and obtain a search and seizure warrant by stating their reasoning and need to gather further evidence and information. If the illegal activities are happening in plain sight then a warrant isn’t needed. If your property is about to be or is already being seized or searched, you must immediately obtain the services of a criminal defense attorney with a good track record of dealing with similar cases.
Scope of AppealsThe timely intervention of a lawyer can stop an unlawful search and all evidence gathered during such searches can be dismissed in court. If the property is already forfeited, the Michigan law provides a time limit of 20 days to make an appeal against the forfeiture which is a very short period of time to manage all procedures by yourself or look for good attorneys, hire them and then let them work! However, it must be done. Receiving legal advice from a local criminal attorney, in most cases, will be the best bet for regaining personal property. Beyond this period, a case may or may not be filed. In the latter case, the forfeiting agency has the right to auction or sell the property and keep the proceeds.
Loopholes of Forfeiture Laws - These laws grant law enforcement enough ground to make mistakes or take undue advantage via the proceeds. Although it would be unfair to generalize government agencies as corrupt, but corruption amongst government officials is no breaking news. Much importance is placed on what the police suspect, which is why there’s the warrant issuance stage for monitoring these suspicions.
Say you get pulled over for improper driving and the cops find you sober, but, search your car by force to find an illegal substance in your luggage and seize your car. This is when your DUI attorney can save the day by immediately stopping the forfeiture as the car was searched without a warrant or permission and the substance was not in plain sight.
Beyond forfeitures - Many attorneys will reveal how, many times, innocent civilians suffer due to the procedural fees and loss of property without any sufficient evidence tagging them to the crime. Eventually legislations will cap these loopholes. Till then, time and a good attorney are of utmost essence to avoid this fate.