Cleveland, OH asked in Criminal Law and Federal Crimes for Ohio

Q: How does a forfeiture work after a federal case is dismissed

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James L. Arrasmith
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  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: After a federal case is dismissed, the process for handling forfeiture depends on the specifics of the case and the nature of the forfeiture. If property was seized as part of the investigation or proceedings, its return typically hinges on whether the dismissal of the case removes the legal basis for holding the property.

If the case is dismissed without prejudice, meaning the government retains the right to refile charges, the authorities might attempt to maintain control over the seized property, arguing its potential relevance to future proceedings. However, if the dismissal is with prejudice, indicating the case is closed and cannot be reopened, there generally exists a stronger argument for the return of the property, unless the property itself is illegal to possess or was independently subject to forfeiture.

To initiate the return of forfeited property after a case dismissal, you may need to file a motion challenging the forfeiture and demonstrating your rightful ownership and the lack of legal grounds for retaining the property. This can be a complex process, requiring a clear understanding of federal forfeiture laws and the specifics of your case.

Engaging an attorney experienced in federal criminal law and asset forfeiture is important. They can guide you through the necessary steps to challenge the forfeiture, represent your interests, and work towards recovering your property. Given the intricacies of federal law and the discretion often exercised by federal agencies, professional legal assistance can be invaluable in navigating these challenges.

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