Michigan Civil Forfeiture Laws Updated
In 2016, new Michigan Civil Forfeiture law took effect, which continued into the following year. The changes in the Michigan Civil Forfeiture law will relax the previous existing law that took millions of dollars from individuals involved in certain criminal investigations during previous years. The new Michigan Civil Forfeiture laws, increase the required burden of proof needed to be brought forth into a court of law, prior to an individuals property being forfeited by the local or state government. Therefore, individuals will now have more ability to prove that their property is not involved or was not involved in a criminal act, as alleged pursuant to the civil forfeiture.
Not only has the burden of proof required in order to prove a connection between personal property and criminal activity increased, but also the need to provide a monetary bond in order for an individual to pursue his or her claim for their particular property has been eliminated. Note: this applies to those cases and matters involving personal property under $50,000.00. This need to post bond may be confusing for some, and thus an explanation is needed.
To begin, when an individual is suspected of specific criminal activity, such as drug crimes, the police are allowed, under law, to seize and seek civil forfeiture of any and all property connected to or involved in the criminal activity. If the property is seized through civil forfeiture, a notice is to be provided to the owner of the property, and the owner then must decide his or her next course of action. Previously, an individual must within 20 days of receiving the notice of forfeiture provide a written claim and monetary bond in order to preserve his or her right in said property. Providing the written claim and monetary bond was the only way to protect and maintain in the seized property, otherwise the lack of performing these acts meant the property would be automatically forfeited after the 20 days. Under the new Michigan Civil Forfeiture laws, an individuals is still required to provide a written claim within the 20-day period; however, they are no longer required to post or provide a monetary bond for said property. This is a huge benefit for individuals because the new Michigan Civil Forfeiture laws are now not discriminating agains those individuals who do not hold the extra funds in order to fight a claim of improper forfeiture.
The new Michigan Civil Forfeiture laws can be complex and are separate from any and all criminal matters that mar or may not be associated within a civil forfeiture case. This is important to note because of the difference in procedure and law between the two matters. This is also reason to hire and maintain counsel any time you believe or are charged with or could be charged with a criminal matter. Never rely on this website or any information when wanting or attempting to defend, represent or articulate any legal matter before a court within this state, or any other state of individual.