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When you’re facing a federal issue, you need an attorney whose going to be available 24/7 to help you get the results and outcome you need. The value of working with the Spodek Law Group is that we treat each and every client like a member of our family.

How do I choose an asset forfeiture defense attorney?

You Worked Hard for Your Assets – Don’t Let Them Be Taken Unjustly

There’s one reason you’re on this website: you’re looking for an elite criminal defense law firm to protect your rights against asset forfeiture. Most law firms implement a cookie cutter strategy in order to fight your case, and save their own time. They don’t look carefully at your situation – they simply want to move on to the next case. At Spodek Law Group, we leave no stone unturned. We do everything possible to win. Everything we do is focused on getting you results. We understand the difficulties and challenges of going through an asset forfeiture case. If you’re accused of a crime that could lead to your property being seized, schedule a consultation with our criminal attorneys today.

What is Asset Forfeiture?

Asset forfeiture is when the government takes your property on the grounds that it was involved in a crime. This could mean they seize:

  • Cash
  • Vehicles
  • Real estate
  • Businesses
  • Valuables like jewelry or art

They can take it even if you haven’t been convicted of a crime. Crazy, right? The legal theory is that the property itself is “guilty” of being involved in illegal activity. So they go after the property directly through a court process, not necessarily the owner.

How Does It Work?

There are a few different ways asset forfeiture can happen:Criminal Forfeiture: If you’re convicted of a crime like drug trafficking, money laundering, or racketeering, the court can order your assets forfeited as part of the criminal sentence. The assets must be directly tied to the criminal activity.Civil Forfeiture: This is where it gets really crazy. The government can seize your property through a civil court case, without you being charged or convicted. They just have to show by a “preponderance of evidence” (more likely than not) that the property was connected to a crime. No criminal conviction required.Administrative Forfeiture: For property under a certain value (usually $500,000 or less), the seizing agency like the DEA or FBI can forfeit it through an administrative process. They just have to give notice and if no one contests it within a short window, they keep your stuff.So, what do you do if you get hit with one of these things? Don’t panic, but take a deep breath. We’re here to fight for your rights.

Your Rights Are Being Violated – Let’s Fight Back

At Spodek Law Group, we believe civil asset forfeiture laws violate fundamental property rights and due process. The burden of proof is far too low, and it creates a dangerous profit incentive for law enforcement.Sometimes prosecutors will only be fair if you respond with force to them. Without an attorney advising you, you might accidentally plead guilty when you could’ve won the case. The only way to truly know is to hire a private criminal defense attorney.At Spodek Law Group – we pride ourselves on taking a hands-on approach. It means researching the exact situation surrounding your case, and putting in the leg work to be familiar with every single intimate detail. Our firm has excellent work ethics, and we constantly hold firm meetings in order to discuss and address all of our cases. In the event of an emergency – we have a full team of lawyers available to help you.

Innocent Owner Defense

One of the key defenses in an asset forfeiture case is the “innocent owner” argument. If you can prove you had no knowledge that your property was being used illegally, it should not be subject to forfeiture.For example, say your spouse used your car to transport drugs without your knowledge. As an innocent owner, your vehicle should be protected. We have successfully used this defense many times to get our clients’ property back.The burden is on you to establish “innocent owner” status by a preponderance of evidence. Our attorneys will gather documents, witness statements, and any other proof needed to make a strong case.

Proportionality Challenge

Another defense tactic is to argue that the forfeiture is grossly disproportionate to the offense, violating the Excessive Fines Clause of the 8th Amendment.Let’s say police seized your $300,000 home over a $10,000 money laundering case. We would argue that taking a $300k property for a $10k crime is excessive and a violation of your constitutional rights.The key is showing the disproportion between the assets seized and the crime alleged. Our lawyers are skilled at making these arguments and getting excessive forfeitures overturned.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

Procedural Errors

Finally, we look closely at whether law enforcement followed proper procedures in seizing and trying to forfeit your property. There are strict timelines and notice requirements they must follow.If they screwed up the process in any way, we can get the whole case thrown out on procedural grounds. You’d be amazed how often we see sloppy paperwork from the government.Regardless of how tough your situation is – we are here to help you. Our criminal defense lawyers work hard to have a solution for you, irrespective of the situation you find yourself in. Many clients are often embarrassed by their situation, and don’t speak openly about their alleged issue. We encourage open dialogue, and recommend full transparency – so we can give you the best possible legal advice.

The Profit Incentive Problem

One major issue with civil asset forfeiture is the profit incentive it creates for law enforcement. Under the federal laws and most state laws, police departments and prosecutors get to keep a hefty portion of the proceeds from assets they seize.This means they have a direct financial motivation to be aggressive with seizures, even in borderline cases. It’s a major conflict of interest that violates due process.At Spodek Law Group, we have successfully challenged forfeitures on these grounds, arguing the profit motive tainted the entire process. We fight to get cases dismissed or assets returned when law enforcement has abused these laws.

Nationwide Representation

The Spodek Law Group handles cases nationwide. We have offices in NYC and Los Angeles. No matter where your asset forfeiture case is located, we can take it on and fight for your rights.Our attorneys are experienced in both federal asset forfeiture proceedings under U.S. laws, as well as state-level cases in jurisdictions across the country. We know the rules and procedures inside and out.

Federal Asset Forfeiture

Federal civil asset forfeiture cases follow rules and procedures laid out in U.S. laws and handled in federal courts. These cases often involve:

  • Drug trafficking
  • Money laundering
  • Organized crime
  • White collar fraud

Agencies like the DEA, FBI, and IRS are very aggressive in pursuing federal forfeitures. You need attorneys who can match their resources and expertise.

State Asset Forfeiture Laws

While there are federal standards, each state also has its own asset forfeiture laws and procedures for cases at the state level. For example:

  • Standard of proof required
  • Innocent owner protections
  • What assets are subject to forfeiture
  • How proceeds are distributed

Our lawyers have studied the asset forfeiture statutes in every state. We know the nuances and can craft a strong defense no matter where your case is located.

It’s Not Just About the Money

For many of our clients, the assets at stake in these cases are about much more than just money. They represent a lifetime of hard work, memories, and legacy.

  • A family home passed down for generations
  • A business you built from the ground up
  • A vintage car or jewelry collection
  • Cash intended for your child’s education

We understand what’s at stake on a personal level. Our attorneys work tirelessly to keep you and your loved ones from being deprived of your rightfully owned property.It’s simple. Every single client deserves honesty and white glove service. We treat your case like it’s our most important one.

The Spodek Law Group Difference

So what sets Spodek Law Group apart from other criminal defense firms? A few key things:Tenacious Advocacy: We truly leave no stone unturned in fighting for your rights and protecting your assets. Preparing cases with meticulous attention to detail is our hallmark.Open Communication: You’ll never be left in the dark about what’s happening with your case. We believe in full transparency and constant communication with clients.Holistic Approach: Asset forfeiture cases are complex, with many moving parts. We look at the total picture – criminal charges, financial issues, civil implications – to build a multi-faceted defense.Nationwide Reach: Our presence in major markets like New York and Los Angeles allows us to take on asset forfeiture cases anywhere in the U.S.Proven Track Record: Over our decades of experience, we’ve helped countless clients successfully defeat asset forfeiture attempts and keep their property.It all comes down to this – we truly care about our clients and delivering the best possible outcome, no matter how difficult the fight. When your life’s work is on the line, you need that level of commitment.

The Initial Consultation

The first step is scheduling a comprehensive consultation so we can examine every aspect of your situation. This includes:

  • Details of the alleged criminal activity
  • Value and nature of assets seized/targeted
  • Procedures used by law enforcement
  • Your role and potential defenses

We’ll spend as much time as needed to understand your case inside and out. No question is too small, no detail too minor to analyze thoroughly.From there, our team will craft a strategic legal plan tailored specifically to your goals and circumstances. We’ll advise you on the strengths of your case, likelihood of success, and map out next steps.The consultation is also an opportunity for you to get to know our attorneys and staff. You’ll get a true sense of the passion and personal attention we bring to every single case.Don’t wait another day to protect your assets and rights. Contact us now to schedule your consultation. Your legacy is too important to leave to chance.

Frequent Asset Forfeiture Questions

What triggers asset forfeiture?

Asset forfeiture can be triggered any time law enforcement believes property was involved in certain criminal activities like:

  • Drug crimes
  • Money laundering
  • Racketeering/organized crime
  • Fraud schemes
  • Gambling violations

Even mere suspicion of a tenuous connection is often enough for them to attempt forfeiture. That’s why you need aggressive legal representation.

What assets are subject to forfeiture?

Virtually any type of property could potentially be seized through asset forfeiture laws, including:

  • Cash and bank accounts
  • Vehicles like cars, boats, and planes
  • Real estate like homes and commercial properties
  • Businesses and investments
  • Valuables like jewelry, art, collectibles
  • Electronic devices and equipment

The value of the assets doesn’t matter. We’ve seen attempts to seize everything from million-dollar homes to $500 in cash.

How do I get my property back?

The process for recovering seized assets depends on the type of forfeiture involved (criminal, civil, or administrative). In general, it requires:

  1. Quickly filing a claim asserting your ownership rights
  2. Attending any required hearings or proceedings
  3. Presenting evidence and legal arguments to challenge the forfeiture

Having an experienced asset forfeiture defense lawyer is crucial, as the procedures are very complex and unforgiving of mistakes.

What are common defenses?

Some of the most common defenses we use include:

  • Innocent owner (no knowledge of criminal activity)
  • Lack of substantial connection between property and any crime
  • Excessive fines/disproportionate forfeiture
  • Procedural errors by the government

The specific defenses used depend on the facts of each individual case. We examine every possible angle.

How much does it cost to hire you?

Our asset forfeiture defense fees are charged on a flat-rate basis, not hourly. This provides cost certainty from the start. Fees are based on the complexity of the case and potential legal work involved. During the initial consultation we provide a flat-fee quote so you know exactly what to expect with no surprise bills later.

What if I’ve already been indicted?

It’s never too late to fight asset forfeiture, even if charges have already been filed. However, the sooner you involve us, the better. We can sometimes negotiate with prosecutors for deferred prosecution or take other proactive steps to prevent charges or seizures from occurring in the first place.

Schedule Your Consultation Now