Imagine sitting in your home one evening when out of nowhere, without any warning, police officers come barreling through your doors. Now imagine being thrown to the ground and held down as those same law enforcement officers rummage through your home without any regard for your property. What’s more, imagine that these same officers accuse you of something that you haven’t done and then leave with several of your possessions that are worth thousands of dollars, but never actually charge you with a crime. Sound impossible? Unfortunately, that’s the kind of scenario that has played out for several people in Michigan.
According to a report in the Detroit Free Press, in 2013, using asset forfeiture laws, state and local authorities seized at least $24 million in property from Michigan residents. Many times, these citizens lost their property even though they were never even charged with a crime. These property seizures are allowed under the state’s Civil Asset Forfeiture laws, which make it legal for law enforcement officers to seize assets from anyone who they suspect has committed a crime, even though there might not even be enough evidence to actually charge them.
Even if authorities do not charge a person, he or she still has to prove that the seized possessions were not acquired with money they obtained from illegal activity. Additionally, they must sue authorities to get their property back. Now legislators throughout the country are calling for change. According to one national study, Michigan was ranked as one of the worst offenders when it comes to abusing these laws. Authorities use the possessions for their own gain, as they sell them in auctions and then use the proceeds to purchase new equipment and pay for other expenses.
While these types of asset seizures and raids seem entirely unfair and ripe with potential abuse opportunities, unless lawmakers enact changes they will continue to happen. However, if you have been the victim of one of these unfair raids, especially if you have not been charged with a crime, then you might want to pursue a lawsuit to get your possessions back. Even you have been charged with a crime that does not mean you are guilty and it does not mean that authorities followed proper procedures when they invaded your home.
Therefore, if you have been the target of one of these raids then you should contact the Law Office of Nickola. We will help you determine whether or not you should pursue a lawsuit to get your possessions back, and we can help you fight any criminal charges you might be facing, as well. Please contact us online today or give us a call at 810-767-5420.
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