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If you have had property seized by the police or other government agency it is critical to your case that you hire effective legal representation right away. Do not risk having your rights violated by neglecting to retain a skilled, experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact the Houston, Texas, law office of Kuniansky & Associates today. We will work diligently to ensure your rights are protected.
Asset forfeiture is a term used to describe the confiscation of assets by the Government which are either the proceeds of crime or the "instrumentalities of crime". Instrumentalities of crime are property that was used to facilitate crime, for example cars used to transport illegal narcotics.
The traditional approach to serious criminality has been arrest, followed by the institution of criminal proceedings with a view to conviction and imprisonment. In recent years, because of the large amounts of wealth generated from economic crime and particularly from drug-related crime, a confiscation or forfeiture element has been added to the criminal process in many jurisdictions.
There are two types of forfeiture cases, criminal and civil. Almost all forfeiture cases practiced today are civil. In civil forfeiture cases, the US Government sues the item of property, not the person; the owner is effectively a third party claimant.
Before the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act was enacted in 2000, the government only had to establish probable cause that the property was subject to forfeiture; the owner had to prove on a "preponderance of the evidence" that it was not.
In contrast, criminal forfeiture is usually carried out in a sentence following a conviction and is a punitive act against the offender. Since the government can choose the type of case, a civil case is almost always chosen. The costs of such cases is high for the owner, usually totaling around $10,000 and can take up to three years. It should be noted however, that in 80% of asset forfeiture cases no one is ever charged with a crime.
The United States Marshals Service is responsible for managing and disposing of properties seized and forfeited by Department of Justice agencies. It currently manages around $1 billion worth of seized property. The United States Treasury Department is responsible for managing and disposing of properties seized by Treasury agencies. The goal of both programs is to maximize the net return from seized property by selling at auctions and to the private sector ,and then using the property and proceeds for law enforcement purposes.
At Kuniansky & Associates we have the skills necessary to effectively defend individuals and corporations charged with a range of serious federal and state crimes. We are committed to providing personal attention to every client and have a deep understanding of prosecutorial strategies, conducting thorough investigations and preparation in every case. We have more than 30 years of valuable trial experience to bring to your defense.
If you believe you may be under federal or state investigation for a crime, it is critical to your case that you hire a qualified criminal defense attorney right away. The law office of Kuniansky & Associates will work diligently to ensure your rights are protected.
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