Stone Mountain, GA asked in Civil Litigation and Criminal Law for Georgia

Q: I got a ride from a friend in 2017 to go buy me a car and we were pulled over they searched the car a found drugs weapon

The took money from me and I had nothing to do with what they found they sent a letter pursuant to ocga 9-16-11(b) so just this past Monday the driver of the car went to court and told the truth that i didn’t know anything about what was in his car how can I get my money back

1 Lawyer Answer

Ecleynne Mercy

Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Licensed in Georgia

A: After the law enforcement takes your property, the State must file a civil forfeiture complaint against you, with notice. You then have 30 days to file an answer to the complaint. Once your answer has been filed, a hearing will be scheduled within 60 days. It is important to timely file an answer to the complaint, because if not filed within the specified time period a default judgment will be issued against you in the State’s favor. Loveless v. State, 337 Ga. App. 250, 786 S.E.2d 899 (2016).

Your answer must include all relevant facts, for instance– you must specify why the asset is legally yours, how you procured the asset, affirmative defenses, and more.

At your hearing, you and/or your attorney will need to show the court proof that the asset in question was not associated with any illegal activity. The burden of proof is different in a civil proceeding than a criminal proceeding. Civilly the burden of proof is preponderance of evidence standard or probable cause, which means the State has to prove that more likely than not, the assets are associated with criminal activity.

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