Georgia lawmakers have reformed the civil forfeiture laws, making it very slightly more difficult to take the property of the innocent. However, the aggressive forfeiture actions continue to impact people throughout Atlanta and the state. Under current law, innocent people lose valuable property with no viable method of recourse – the property is lost forever. The civil asset forfeiture law in Georgia allows for the seizure of private property with limited due process and little to no concern about whether the individual is guilty or innocent.
Under Georgia law, law enforcement has the right to seize the property owned by private individuals if they feel there is “probable cause” to believe the property was somehow linked to any type of illegal activity. The owner of the property need not have been involved in any criminal activities themselves. Once the property has been seized, there is very limited time in which to attempt to have it returned. It is critical that you get legal help at once, or you may lose your property forever.
Under the Georgia Code, § 9-16-12, your property can be seized through a specific set of legal actions, which include filing a complaint which outlines:
Once seized, the owner must file an answer to the complaint within 30 days or a default judgment is entered, and the property lost forever.
At Wallack Law, we provide legal counsel to aggressively defend against unfair, unconstitutional forfeitures of property. Our lead criminal defense attorney, Sandy Wallack, has extensive experience in both state and federal courts, is an accomplished trial lawyer, and dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of the people he represents. The benefits of working with Wallack Law in Atlanta include:
To successfully recover seized property, it is necessary to demonstrate that the property was not connected to any crime. This process occurs at a bench trial, decided by a judge. This sole judge makes the determination on whether your property should be returned to you or not. If not, it is immediately forfeited and awarded to the state, after which it is usually sold, with the profits used for various government functions or needs.
It is very clear that the presentation to the judge must be compelling, convincing, and persuasive – that’s when the legal talents of Sandy Wallack come into play. Your case will be fully reviewed to determine the best course of action, and your case presented with high level professional skills. Law enforcement has been found to have abused the civil forfeiture laws on many occasions. A law that was passed to assist the police in large-scale drug cases, the practice of seizing private property has led to people facing terrible financial consequences, with vehicles, cash, property, or other valuable items seized for little to no reason.
If you have had your personal property seized by law enforcement, you have little time in which to act. Call Wallack Law immediately to schedule a free initial consultation.