California considering revisiting its asset forfeiture laws

State considering making it more difficult for police to keep assets seized from those charged with or convicted of crimes.

In the 1980s, the federal government was deep in the midst of the war on drugs. Countless law enforcement agencies were devoting substantial resources to stem the flow of illegal drugs across the country. The powers of these agencies were greatly expanded throughout the decade in the hopes that it would help officers regain control over these serious problems.

One of the powers given to federal law enforcement officers was the ability to seize assets that were owned by those involved in drug crimes. This included any cash, vehicles, weapons or homes that was used in connection with a crime or was purchased with proceeds obtained from criminal acts. Federal agencies were allowed to keep this property regardless of whether or not the individual was ever charged with a crime.

Many state and local law enforcement agencies in California were also granted the ability to seize assets. In California, police could only keep these items if the owner was eventually convicted of a crime. However, if the state agencies were working together with federal agencies, the federal laws would apply, meaning the police could keep the property regardless of the outcome. Many departments relied upon these funds to help them purchase new gear or pay for overtime.

Recently, there has been some discussion about changing these laws to offer more protection to individuals charged with crimes. The changes would make it more difficult for police to seize and keep these assets, depending upon the status of the case.

Law enforcement officers throughout California have voiced concern over these potential changes. The bill is in the very early stages, and it could be some time before this issue will be addressed by the legislature.

If you have been charged with a crime, you need to take quick action to protect your rights. Law enforcement officers will have spent extensive time gathering evidence to use against you, and prosecutors will be aggressive when trying your case. If you do not have someone looking out for you, you may find yourself looking at extensive prison time.

Your attorney will be able to stand up for you at every stage of your case, including any proceedings relating to the seizure of assets. This ensures that you have an opportunity to present your side of the story. Failing to offer an aggressive defense to any and all criminal charges is a major mistake, and you do not want to spend the rest of your life dealing with the aftermath of a conviction.