Anthony M. Salerno

Attorney At Law

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Anthony M. Salerno

Attorney At Law

Civil forfeiture: Are police allowed to confiscate my cash?

What is civil forfeiture?

This policy is called civil forfeiture. Civil forfeiture allows Massachusetts police to confiscate private property — including personal items, cash and other valuables — from suspects. What’s more, police can keep the confiscated property indefinitely — even if the suspect is released or is never charged with a crime. Police officers need only meet the standard of probable cause to permanently confiscate private property. Once the police have seized the property, the burden of proof falls on citizens to convince law enforcement of their innocence before reclaiming their confiscated assets.

The program has been incredibly controversial. While law enforcement claims that it is often necessary to confiscate private property when investigating a crime, many people fear that it violates Bay-Staters’ civil rights. Many people feel that civil forfeiture goes against the Fourth Amendment, which protects American citizens form unreasonable search and seizure, and the Eighth Amendment, which bans excessive fines

Civil forfeiture and your rights

The U.S. Supreme Court may soon hear a prominent civil forfeiture case out of Indiana. Until then, the controversial program remains legal in Massachusetts and several other states. Civil forfeiture is meant to help police officers solve and prosecute crime, but the policy is sometimes misused. This does not mean that suspects are without rights. Anyone who has been subject to civil forfeiture does have legal options available to them. Sometimes, it is necessary to take legal action to recover private property that has been confiscated.

What is civil forfeiture?

This policy is called civil forfeiture. Civil forfeiture allows Massachusetts police to confiscate private property–including personal items, cash and other valuables–from suspects. What’s more, police can keep the confiscated property indefinitely–even if the suspect is released or is never charged with a crime. Police officers need only meet the standard of probable cause to permanently confiscate private property. Once the police have seized the property, the burden of proof falls on citizens to convince law enforcement of their innocence before reclaiming their confiscated assets.

The program has been incredibly controversial. While law enforcement claims that it is often necessary to confiscate private property when investigating a crime, many people fear that it violates Bay-Staters’ civil rights. Many people feel that civil forfeiture goes against the Fourth Amendment, which protects American citizens form unreasonable search and seizure, and the Eighth Amendment, which bans excessive fines

Civil forfeiture and your rights

The U.S. Supreme Court may soon hear a prominent civil forfeiture case out of Indiana. Until then, the controversial program remains legal in Massachusetts and several other states. Civil forfeiture is meant to help police officers solve and prosecute crime, but the policy is sometimes misused. This does not mean that suspects are without rights. Anyone who has been subject to civil forfeiture does have legal options available to them. Sometimes, it is necessary to take legal action to recover private property that has been confiscated.

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