If charged in a criminal case, do you have to worry about your property? Many Missouri residents have to worry about whether their property will end up seized due to a crime. Missouri does allow civil asset forfeiture. This is a tactic with uses dating back for centuries. The answer is yes, the police can seize your property.
According to St. Louis Public Radio, the federal government seized over $36.5 billion in assets over the last couple of decades. In Missouri, a seizure does not necessarily point to an arrest. For instance, if officers seize cash on the highway, odds are there are no criminal charges. Even with no criminal charges, the police use that money. Law enforcement agencies also circumvent the restrictions on how to use forfeited property.
In Missouri, there are laws dictating that the money from seized assets goes to schools. However, due to a federal loophole, law enforcement keeps most of the money. The idea behind seizing property is something old. The idea is that property is criminal. For instance, say that you face drug charges and the police found drugs in your vehicle or accuse you of selling from the vehicle. The cops can seize the vehicle.
Now, say that you do not own the vehicle. Even if you do not own the vehicle, the cops can still seize it. The owner of the property does not face criminal charges. However, the person can still lose his or her car due to the criminal act.
None of the above article is intended to be legal advice. It is simply to educate on forfeiture in Missouri.