It's very common that when the authorities pull people over and they find cash and they believe that individual is involved in a drug crime or they've got wiretap information by listening to calls that someone is moving money that relates to a drug crime, that the police seize that money, keep it, won't give it away, and eventually will try to forfeit it.
This occurs both at the state and federal levels, so people call me all the time. Their money has been taken from them. They want it back.
They don't understand why they were arrested, but somehow the police are allowed to take their money and try to keep it.
Again, when they investigate these drug crimes, the police, prosecutors, forfeiture units are not going to file a case against somebody unless:
- They have the evidence in order to prosecute them successfully either in the federal or state court; and
- If they're in the middle of an investigation, they're certainly not going to tip all their cards and show their entire investigation, which would include potentially other defendants, that they're not ready to arrest yet, don't have the evidence to arrest yet — maybe they want to get more evidence, more drugs, more cash — whatever the case may be.
So, a lot of times what they do is they piece their investigation together. So, they'll seize drugs. They'll seize money because they think it's proceeds of drugs, but they won't file the case yet.
Now, I've been hired before and my client says, I want to get my money back. For example, they took $200,000.00. It's my money. I don't see how they can take it. I want it.
The first thing I'm going to ask and obviously we're going to have an honest conversation about whether or not they're involved in any type of drug transactions. Secondly, I'm going to ask them where they got the money from.
Because if you can't show where you got the money from and we know because you told me the truth that you're involved in the drug trade, then you can bet your bottom dollar that they're going to be able to keep the money and they're probably going to be able to block you from getting it back.
Proving Money Came From a Valid Source
So, what we would have to do to try to get money back that was seized that the authorities believe is related to drug activity, is to be able to source the money — to be able to show where did this money come from.
So, if you had saved money, for example, from your job — $200,000.00, as you deposited in your checks into your back, we can see that it added up to $200,000.00.
We can see that you worked at that job and that you made that money. It was a legitimate job, and then you somehow withdrew the $200,000.00 for whatever reason.
I don't know why someone would do that, but let's just assume for purposes of our example you did that, the police came along, pulled you over, took all of your money.
I could get that money back because I would be able to source the money — show that it came from legitimate work, and we would fight the forfeiture and we would be successful.
Of course, unfortunately, in the real world, people don't typically have it set up that easily. Sometimes it is more complicated, but the money is innocent money, not tied to drugs and we can try to get it back.
Other times it is tied to drugs and the authorities are going to be able to keep it or at least keep part of the money.
Fighting Indictment by State or Federal Government
So, if your money has been seized, yes, you should be concerned about the fact that your money was seized, but if you're involved in the drug trade, you should be much more concerned about the fact that you're probably about to be arrested, indicted, prosecuted by the state, prosecuted by the federal government in a big drug case.
So, you want to get an attorney right away. We need to sit down and start talking about the case. Start making the right moves to protect your rights, your freedom, your liberty and all the things that you hold dear to you.
Another time that I see money being seized is when they actually do arrest somebody. Sometimes they'll come in and serve and search warrant in a house.
They'll find drugs, guns, cash, and they're going to keep it all. If they think you're involved in drugs and they can prove it, any cash that they find they're going to assume that that cash is related to drug dealing.
I have cases all the time where they're seizing cash of my clients and my client is also living with their parents or their family for example.
Those people are not involved in drugs and they're seizing that cash too, so now I have to deal with the prosecutors in trying to get that money back and trying to show that that money is legitimate money.
It belongs to a mother or father a sister or brother — whatever the case may be — I'm basically trying to help get that money back.
Drug Crime Lawyer in California
But the main thing I'm trying to do is obviously, trying to prevent a criminal conviction so you don't end up going to prison for a long time or trying to negotiate and mitigate and get something that is reasonable under the circumstances of your case.
There's all sorts of ways to do that. My 26-years of experience are going to be brought to bear to help you in every way I can related to your drug matter.
Hedding Law Firm is a criminal defense law firm located in Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. Contact our office for a free case evaluation at (213) 542-0979.