11 Apr 23

Federal Asset Forfeiture Defense Attorney

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Last Updated on: 8th August 2023, 03:16 am

Understanding Federal Administrative Asset Forfeiture: How to Protect Your Assets

If a federal agency accuses you of criminal activity, it may try to seize your assets administratively without involving the court system. This process is known as federal administrative asset forfeiture. As a property owner, you have important due process rights that must be protected if a government agency wants to seize your assets through administrative forfeiture.

In this article, we will explore what administrative asset forfeiture is, which federal agencies are authorized to conduct it, and how a federal asset forfeiture defense attorney can help protect your rights in these types of cases.

What is Federal Administrative Asset Forfeiture?

Federal administrative asset forfeiture is a legal proceeding that occurs outside of court and is conducted by various federal agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF), or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The rules governing administrative forfeitures allow these agencies to simplify and expedite the process of seizing assets obtained from criminal activities or used for perpetrating crimes.

While not inherently illegal, many defendants do not contest administrative asset forfeitures because they have experienced the one-sided nature of these proceedings that often deprive property owners of their rights. If you are facing an administrative asset forfeiture claim against your property, it is essential that you work with an experienced federal asset forfeiture defense attorney who understands the applicable laws and regulations.

Federal Agencies Authorized to Conduct Administrative Forfeitures

Administrative asset forfeiture falls under 19 U.S.C. § 1607. Federal agencies that can carry out this process include:

– Drug Enforcement Administration
– Department of Justice
– U.S. Customs and Border Protection
– Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
– Internal Revenue Service

Administrative Forfeiture Vs Judicial Forfeiture

The main difference between administrative asset forfeiture and judicial forfeiture comes down primarily on the degree of involvement of the court system. While administrative asset forfeiture is a process conducted by government agencies that do not require going to court, judicial forfeiture can only happen through the established legal channels in civil or criminal trials.

Real estate cannot go through administrative forfeiture because it requires a hearing before having possessions taken away by the government. On the other hand, judicial forfeiture is necessary when a non-real estate item is valued over $500,000. If your assets have been seized by any Federal agency mentioned above, reach out to an experienced federal asset forfeiture attorney.

The Forfeiture Notice

Agencies intending to seize and forfeit property must begin by sending a notice of their intent. Simultaneously, they must publicize their notice on their website. You should respond promptly upon receipt of this letter and hire an attorney who can help guide you through the process of contesting your seizure or assist with working out alternatives like obtaining ownership back through negotiations.

Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act

The Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act was passed in 2000 and made changes to rules governing administrative forfeitures.

Under these laws:

– A federal agency that seizes assets must begin the administrative forfeiture process within a set period and give claimants time to file claims.
– The government must respond within a set time if a claim is filed.
– The property owner has limited rights set at receiving notification of seizure after which they must take specific action promptly.

Get Help With Fighting Administrative Asset Forfeiture

A federal administrative asset forfeiture defense lawyer might challenge this kind of seizure in different ways depending on the specifics of each case. A few examples are listed below;

If deemed necessary:

– Challenging impounding agents’ claim that there is probable cause for forfeiture
– Improper warning given during seizure
– Asserting Innocent Owner Defense
– Obtaining protection under Eighth Amendment relating to fines

Defending against an administrative asset forfeiture often requires the services of a seasoned federal administrative asset forfeiture attorney. With so much at stake, you need an attorney who can identify and challenge weak points in the government’s case against you.

If you receive notice from a government agency intending to seize and forfeit your assets under administrative forfeiture laws, don’t wait until it’s too late. Get in touch with an experienced attorney who can fight to ensure that your constitutional rights are protected during this process.


Administrative asset forfeiture might be necessary under certain circumstances, but property owners always need to protect their interests and their rights under these proceedings. If faced with a motion for an administrative asset forfeiture, consult the right legal counsel familiar with these cases immediately; if you wait too long or act on time, you could risk losing your property forever. Hire reliable legal help and seek guidance covering all areas to keep your possessions safely at hand.