Asset Seizure and Forfeiture Defense Attorney Orlando

Orlando Attorney

Being the subject of a criminal investigation can present significant obstacles in a person’s life.  In some cases, people facing criminal charges in Orlando can lose personal property under asset forfeiture laws. If police have recently confiscated anything you own, such as a vehicle, weapon, or even your house, speak with an asset forfeiture lawyer as soon as you can.

What is Asset Forfeiture?

Asset forfeiture occurs when police take personal property that they believe a defendant used to commit a crime. Asset seizure is the taking of the property, while asset forfeiture takes place when the government takes over full property rights or ownership.

You have just days after police seize your assets to request a hearing to contest their actions. The sooner you acquire legal counsel, the stronger your representation can be at the hearing. Having a qualified asset forfeiture attorney on your side will improve your chances of recovering your property.

Civil vs. Criminal Asset Forfeiture

In Florida, the state can confiscate assets tied to criminal activity and assets that were believed to have been purchased using profits generated by crime. Civil asset forfeiture occurs when law enforcement officers take non-monetary property from a person who is under arrest. Criminal asset forfeiture takes place after the suspect has been convicted of an offense and the property’s connection to the crime has been proved.

Recently, Florida lawmakers amended the state’s civil asset forfeiture laws. Today, law enforcement officers can only take non-monetary property if a person is under arrest for an offense that “forms the basis for determining that the property is a contraband under article §932.701.”

Under the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act, a judge must find proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the seized property was somehow involved in a crime. For example, police may confiscate a car that a defendant used to transport controlled substances or one that he purchased with the profits from drug trafficking.

Seized property must be released within five days if a court fails to find reasonable cause for the forfeiture within ten days. There must be proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the property was involved in illegal activity. A criminal defense lawyer who has fought against asset seizures can challenge law enforcement’s justification for taking your property.

Recent Case Result

Aggravated Assault With a Firearm

The Umansky Law Firm represented a client in Osceola County accused of Aggravated Assault with a Firearm. The minimum mandatory sentence for this alleged offense is 20 years in prison. The allegation was that our client shot a firearm towards the alleged victim – therefore Florida’s “10/20/Life” sentencing provisions applied. We contacted the alleged victim, who stated she did not want to prosecute. We prepared an affidavit from the alleged victim to the prosecutor stating her desire to have the charges dropped. On the day of trial, we were successful in getting the charges dropped against our client after the prosecutor dismissed the charges!

Federal Asset Forfeiture

Although the state made it illegal for police to take people’s non-monetary property without charging people for a crime, state and local law enforcement agencies can bypass these laws by merging their asset forfeiture actions with those of federal agencies.

The U.S. Department of Justice has the authority to seize property associated with violations of federal law, and then assume title to that property, without placing anyone under arrest or conducting an investigation. Some believe the number of federal asset forfeiture cases has skyrocketed in recent years due to the fact that the cash and other assets seized often fund law enforcement programs. Over the past decade, the federal government has seized over $28 billion worth of assets through the Asset Forfeiture Program.

Assets Police May Seize in Orlando

Forfeiture laws allow law enforcement officers to take assets or property of any size or value if they believe the assets are associated with a crime. Assets commonly seized in Orlando include:

  • Cash
  • Jewelry
  • Vehicles
  • Bank accounts
  • Real estate

In many cases, the government takes property from innocent property owners without a fight. Don’t allow this to happen to you; work with an attorney to request an adverse preliminary hearing.

Adverse Preliminary Hearing

An adverse preliminary hearing is the most effective way to fight for the government to return your property and raise any defenses that exist in the case. An attorney with the Umansky Law Firm can help you demand an adverse preliminary hearing and negotiate the return of your property. An attorney may be able to help you regain ownership of your property. It is crucial to request an adverse preliminary hearing immediately after you have received a Notice of Seizure of Personal Property.

Allow our experienced Orlando defense attorneys to protect your rights and property. Call 407-228-3838 for a free case review or contact us online to discuss your asset forfeiture case.

Recent Criminal
Case Results

Grand Theft ($300-$5000)

Nolle Prosequi-Case Dropped

CT-Driving Under the Influence Car (M1)

Nolle Prosequi - Case Dropped

CT- Driving under the influence car

Nolle Prosequi - Case Dropped

Grand Theft Third Degree

Adjudicated Guilty; One day jail/one day time serve; Restitution fees; Court Cost

Petit Theft < 300

We negotiated an agreement that entailed the State dropping the charge after our client completed a Pre-Trial Diversion Program. The Charge was dropped via a Nolle Prosequi.

Unlawful Speeding

Withhold of Adjudication; No points on license; Paid fine and clerk cost; 8 hour aggressive driver class; 90 days to satisfy fine and class

Shoot/Throw Missile Into Dwell/Struct/Veh; Child Abuse; Criminal Mischief; Battery (Domestic Violence)

No Information Notice - Charges Dropped

Attach Tag/Lic Plate To Unassigned Vehicle (M2)

Nolle Prosequi - Case Dropped

DUI with Minor In Car or BAL of .20 or Higher

Pled No Contest, 1 Year Probation, 10 day Car Impound, Community Service

Motion to Modify Probation

Motion Granted in 48 hours

Petit Theft

Adjudication Withheld, 4 Months probation, Costs/Fines, Impulse Control Class

Petit Theft of $100 or MORE (M1)

Nolle Prosequi

Refuse To Submit To DUI Test (M1)

Case Dropped

Battery on Law Enforcement Officer (F3); Disorderly Conduct (M2)

Nolle Prosequi - Case Dropped

Battery

Charges Dropped

Scheme to Defraud(F3); Grand Theft(F3)

Motion to Terminate Probation Granted

Unlawful Speed

Dismissed

Failed to Yield at Intersection

Not Guilty

Leave Scene Of A Crash W/Property Damage (M2)

Case Dropped

Motion to Modify and Impose a Withhold of Adjudication

Granted

Attempted Burglary of a Conveyance

Charges dropped

Possession of Cannabis (less than 20 grams)

Charges dropped

VOP for DUI

Reduced to reckless driving

Possession of Alcohol Under the Age of 21

Charges dropped

Driving Under the Influence

Reduced to Reckless Driving

Violation of Probation

Case Dismissed

More Cases

Recent Personal
Injury Settlements

$125,000

Scooter Accident

$275,000

Car Accident

$100,000

Car Accident

$300,000

Government Liability Case

$100,000

Back Injury

More Settlements