Jacksonville, Florida Civil and Criminal Forfeiture Attorneys

Experienced Defense for Civil and Criminal Forfeiture

Forfeiture is when the government seizes items or property that is connected to something illegal. It is a controversial move that is commonly used in white collar investigations and prosecutions. Some feel it is a powerful deterrent for would-be white collar violators, while others argue that too many innocent people are unfairly punished by this practice, having little to no rights to recover their property. If you own something that was seized in the course of a criminal investigation or prosecution, it is imperative that you consult a competent defense attorney who fully understands your rights – both in criminal defense and defending against criminal and civil forfeiture.

What can be seized in forfeiture?
Federal statutes give the government the right to seize your property, with some limits from the Constitution or other state and local laws. These properties are currently subject to forfeiture:

This is property that is illegal to own in the first place, such as illegal drugs, stolen goods, or any other items that were illegally obtained.

This covers any monies or profits gained from illegal activities.

Tools used to facilitate illegal activity
Property that was used to break the law is also subject to seizure. This may include boats, cars, houses, or other property.

There are two categories of forfeiture: civil and criminal.

Criminal Forfeiture
This happens when the government seizes property after a conviction. It is a criminal proceeding, so the defendant is still protected by the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. Though the crime itself must be proven beyond reasonable doubt, the prosecutor needs less evidence to carry out a forfeiture; he or she simply has to show proof that a defendant owned or acquired the property about the time the crime took place, and that the item was more likely than not obtained in the course of criminal activity.

Civil Forfeiture
This action is not taken against a person but the actual property in question. Still, the government does not need to press criminal charges or obtain a conviction to carry out civil forfeiture, so it is the most common type of property seizure.

Often, law enforcement benefits from the forfeiture of property. The proceeds are touted as evidence the agency is effective and is claimed to help fund things like new prisons and jails, equipment, or other expenses.

Federal prosecutors and state prosecutors regularly employ both categories of forfeiture as an essential part of their prosecution strategy. The government may try to seize, freeze, or take assets from you before you go to trial, or even before you are charged with committing any crime. The laws and procedures regulating civil and criminal forfeitures are complex. It takes keen scholarship and effective experience to successfully fight against civil and criminal forfeitures.

Attorney Lembcke is a former federal prosecutor who understands federal law enforcement strategies and prosecutors' techniques. His firm has substantial experience in these areas and can explore all viable defense strategies to avoid or minimize consequences of civil and criminal forfeiture, keeping your property in your hands.

If you are targeted by prosecutors in connection with white collar criminal charges, you could face concurrent civil or criminal forfeiture action. The law firm of Charles B. Lembcke, P.A. will provide you with a superior defense. Based in Jacksonville, we represent clients throughout Florida and the United States.

Call (877) 355-5467 to arrange a consultation with veteran criminal defense attorneys.


Charles B. Lembcke has been recognized as one of the Best Lawyers in America in the area of white collar criminal defense.

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Our Office:

8550 Cathedral Oaks Place West      Jacksonville, FL 32217

Phone: (904) 355-5467