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Having cash seized by federal agents at Salt Lake City International Airport can be an incredibly stressful and frightening experience. Unfortunately, it is also quite common under civil asset forfeiture laws that allow law enforcement to seize property, including cash, that they suspect is tied to criminal activity.
Even if you have done nothing wrong, navigating the complex legal system to get your money back is difficult without experienced legal help. This article provides an overview of the cash seizure process at Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) and how an attorney can assist you.
Some of the most common reasons federal agents seize cash from travelers at SLC airport include:
When cash is seized, the agency taking it (DEA, FBI, Customs and Border Protection, local police, etc.) will issue a Notice of Seizure to the owner. This outlines:
After the seizure, you have two main options:
Trying to get seized cash returned without experienced legal representation is extremely difficult. Federal forfeiture laws and processes are complex. An attorney can help by:
In addition, an attorney can request evidence from the seizing agency, such as:
In Utah, civil asset forfeiture is governed by the Utah Code Ann. § 24-1-1 et seq. Key provisions include:
Utah received a “D-” grade for its civil forfeiture laws in a November 2020 report by the Institute for Justice for failing to provide adequate protections for property owners.
On the federal level, the primary laws allowing cash seizures are:
To contest a federal seizure, an owner must file a verified claim within 30 days of receiving notice, or 35 days from the date of seizure if no notice is provided.
Cash seizures by federal agents at Salt Lake City International Airport have proven controversial and drawn media scrutiny in recent years:
These incidents highlight the potential for abuse of civil forfeiture laws to seize cash without evidence of underlying criminal wrongdoing.
If you had cash seized from you at Salt Lake City International Airport, it is critical to act quickly and contact an attorney experienced in federal forfeiture law. Look for an attorney who:
A qualified attorney can advise you of your rights, review any evidence, file court claims, and handle negotiations with the seizing agency. In many cases, they can get all or most of the seized cash returned without lengthy legal proceedings.
Don’t let the government take your hard-earned money without a fight. The deck may seem stacked against you, but an experienced attorney can help level the playing field. Contact a lawyer immediately if your cash is seized at SLC or any airport.
Having cash seized at an airport is scary, but the situation is not hopeless. The following tips can improve your chances of getting your money back:
While the laws may seem stacked against property owners, an experienced attorney can protect your rights and fight to get your seized cash returned. Don’t delay in seeking legal help.
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