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Komie and Associates

Chicago Asset Forfeiture Attorney

Springfield Asset Forfeiture Lawyer

Illinois Lawyer Defending Clients Whose Assets Have Been Seized By Law Enforcement

If you have been charged with a crime, you could be facing a number of serious consequences, including fines and jail time. However, many people are not aware that law enforcement officials can also seize your property, including money, personal possessions, and real estate, if they believe it has been involved in criminal activity.

Asset forfeiture is one of the largest areas of potential law enforcement overreach in the United States today. Many police departments, sheriff's offices, and prosecutors have been accused of using this practice as a method of generating revenue rather than fighting crime. Even when state laws limit the practice, state and local authorities often partner with the federal government to seize assets and share the proceeds. In these cases, you need an experienced defense attorney to help you challenge the seizure of your property.

Criminal vs. Civil Forfeiture in Illinois

There are two types of asset forfeiture. In criminal forfeiture cases, the seizure of property is part of the criminal charges brought against a defendant. If prosecutors can demonstrate that property was used to commit a crime or was obtained as the result of criminal activity, a jury may find that the property is forfeitable.

In civil forfeiture cases, law enforcement officials can seize any property that they allege was involved in a crime. In these cases, criminal charges against the property's owner are not necessary. In fact, the property itself will be the defendant in a civil asset forfeiture case, and the property owner, or claimant, will need to prove that their property was not illegally obtained or involved in criminal activity.

Defending Against Asset Forfeiture

The attorneys of Komie and Associates will use a number of strategies when defending against a complaint for forfeiture, including:

  • Lack of probable cause - If police officers did not have sufficient evidence to link the property with a crime at the time it was seized, then the property was seized illegally, and the case may be dismissed.
  • 4th Amendment violation - If property was seized following an illegal search that violated someone's rights against unreasonable search and seizure, we can argue that the case should be dismissed.
  • 8th Amendment violation - The 8th Amendment of the Constitution protects people against excessive fines. If property is determined to be forfeitable, but the forfeiture of this property is grossly disproportional to the severity of the defendant's crimes, then the forfeiture may be ruled unjust.
  • Innocent owner - If the owner of the seized property was not aware of or did not consent to its illegal use, they may be able to have their property returned.
  • Unreasonable delay - An excessive delay in bringing a forfeiture case to trial that harms a defendant or claimant's ability to fight to retrieve their property may result in the dismissal of the case.

A Record of Success in Asset Forfeiture Cases

Attorney Stephen M. Komie has over 40 years of criminal defense experience, with a high success rate in securing the return of seized property.

In 2017, Mr. Komie was able to help his client Shane Kolody recover over $300,000 after a nearly 15 year legal battle. Mr. Kolody's life savings were confiscated by federal drug agents in 2002, even though he was never charged with a crime and no drugs were ever recovered. Through Mr. Komie's unceasing advocacy, Mr. Kolody was finally able to recover his seized property.

If your property has been seized by police officers or law enforcement officials, you should contact the offices of Komie and Associates as soon as possible. Our attorneys will thoroughly investigate the circumstances of the forfeiture and aggressively represent you in court as you seek to have your property returned. Contact an Illinois asset forfeiture attorney today at 312-263-2800 to schedule a free consultation. We serve clients in Chicago, Peoria, Springfield, Bloomington, Winnebago, and throughout Illinois and the United States.

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