Certain laws allow the government to seize assets when they are contraband, used in the commission of a crime or have been purchased with the proceeds of a crime. If you have had assets seized, I can help. My name is Catherine Cleveland, and I am a Salt Lake City asset forfeiture lawyer with more than 15 years of experience in Utah State and Federal Courts. My clients are people who have been arrested for drug offenses, trafficking or a range of white collar crimes.
I have the capacity to represent people who have had many different types of assets seized by the government:
- Contraband, including illegal drugs and smuggled goods
- Houses and real estate
Asset forfeiture laws provide an incentive for police to pursue money launderers and other alleged criminals because a large percentage of money earned from the sale of forfeited assets is given back to local police departments. This has led to an increase in asset forfeiture in Utah and throughout the United States as more and more police departments rely on it as a way to earn money.
Criminal Forfeiture and Civil Forfeiture: Know the Difference
There are actually two different types of forfeiture: criminal and civil. People who have had assets seized by the government may have experienced either type of asset forfeiture. The difference depends on the circumstances of your case.
Criminal forfeiture is a measure taken against a defendant after a conviction for a crime. In criminal forfeiture, the government seizes property as part of your sentence, but constitutional protections apply. Before prosecutors can take your property, they must show that it was more likely than not — by a preponderance of the evidence — that you obtained the property around the time of the crime and that it was unlikely that it came from any other source. This is not a very difficult standard for prosecutors to prove.
Civil forfeiture is a measure taken against the property itself — not the owner. No criminal conviction is necessary before the property can be taken; the government only needs to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the property was involved in a crime.
Criminal defense is all I do
My exclusive focus as a Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer has helped me perfect successful legal strategies that are proven to be effective in Utah Courts. Throughout the years, I have achieved a history of favorable results by helping hundreds of people successfully reduce or avoid criminal charges. My clients’ positive testimonials tell their stories.