Criminal law is complicated and full of nuances. These cases are full of ups and downs, and sometimes they intrude on the personal and family life of the accused. One thing that can happen during or after a criminal case is forfeiture of property. If you live in Missouri and you’re involved in a criminal case, you should understand a little bit about forfeiture of property and how that works.
Defining criminal forfeiture
There are different types of forfeiture that can occur under the law. In general, forfeiture means losing property to the state. For criminal forfeiture, this most often occurs when property was used in the course of a crime or was obtained through the course of a crime.
Commonly seized assets might include things like homes, cars and items used in the course of conducting an illegal business. Typically, someone needs to have been convicted to seize their property. Sometimes, property can be seized while someone is on trial.
The process for criminal forfeiture
Forfeiture is usually handled as a separate phase of a trial. First, the court will have proceedings to determine what property might be subject to seizure. The forfeiture may be something the accused has accepted as part of their plea bargain. Or, it might be contested. In a case where it’s contested, the court will need to hold an additional hearing when the trial concludes.
If you or a loved one are involved in a criminal court proceeding, it’s important to retain an experienced lawyer. An attorney who understands criminal law may be able to provide guidance about forfeiture and other aspects of these cases.