Loss of assets or property is a little-known risk for those involved in high-stakes drug crime investigations and trials. Through asset forfeiture, the government can seize virtually any property believed to have been used in or derived from criminal activity.
In Idaho and other states, drug asset forfeiture laws allow the police to take property connected to a drug crime. They can seize assets even if the owner was never convicted.
How does it work?
The authorities must prove the property was used in or obtained from a drug crime. For instance, if they show you used your vehicle to transport illegal substances, they could take it away.
In another example, they could also take your car if they can prove you bought it with proceeds from criminal drug activity. Other assets, such as cash, weapons and real estate, may also be at risk of forfeiture.
Will you get it back if exonerated?
That is unknown because even if a court finds you not guilty of a drug offense, law enforcement may be allowed to keep seized property.
You may understandably be focused on avoiding conviction if arrested on serious drug charges (trafficking, etc.), but do not ignore the risk of forfeiture, if applicable.
With guidance from an individual who understands what is at stake, you can work toward an effective defense strategy that may help you salvage your at-risk assets.