Kansas Civil Asset Forfeiture

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Contact Our Topeka Office

Contact Joseph, Hollander & Craft to discuss how our team of attorneys can help you.


Civil Asset Forfeiture Lawyers in Kansas 

There is nothing illegal about carrying cash, even in large amounts. Whether a person likes to keep cash close at hand, is buying a car with cash, or is heading back from a winning Las Vegas trip, simply having cash is not a crime. Nevertheless, police routinely assume that possession of a large amount of cash means criminal activity is afoot and exercise the authority vested by asset seizure and forfeiture laws to take and keep cash. If this has happened to you Kansas, Joseph, Hollander & Craft’s Kansas civil asset forfeiture lawyers can guide you through the legal process to recover what is rightfully yours.

Civil Asset Forfeiture Laws

Civil asset forfeiture laws authorize law enforcement officers to summarily seize nearly any property they believe to be involved in a crime. No advance notice is required. And no one has to be convicted of—or even arrested for—a crime. All that is required is a reasonable belief that the property was involved in, represents the proceeds of, or is intended to be used for a crime.

Asset forfeiture laws were designed to prevent large-scale criminal organizations from benefiting from their criminal activity, but they are now routinely used against individuals with no relationship to big criminal enterprises. Some argue that civil forfeiture abuse has overtaken the original justification for asset forfeiture laws. Many, including JHC’s Chris Joseph and Carrie Parker, have advocated for civil asset forfeiture reform.

The Big Business of Asset Forfeiture

Cash seizure and forfeiture is big business for local and state governments and the United States Department of Justice. Kansas law enforcement officers reported seizing $21.3 million between July 1, 2019, and December 31, 2021. Meanwhile, a 2017 report from the Department of Justice revealed that the ATF, DEA, and FBI seized $5.361 billion over a 10-year period. After it is forfeited, the cash is often allocated to the law enforcement agencies responsible for the seizures.

With broad authority and big financial incentives, police are trained to patrol highways looking for cash during car stops. They target cars with out-of-state license plates and ask questions designed to produce inconsistent statements about travel plans. Officers frequently claim they see signs of extreme nervousness and ask if the vehicle contains any drugs, weapons, or cash. Regardless of the answer, police will seek to search the vehicle.

If the vehicle contains a large amount of cash, police presume a crime is somehow involved. Cops will seize the cash, give the driver and passengers a receipt, and send them on their way, usually without any criminal charges. A civil case will be filed to obtain a court order stating that the cash is forfeited and officially government property.

Defending a Forfeiture Action in Kansas

You have the right to challenge the forfeiture of anything confiscated from you. If police cannot prove that the money is related to criminal conduct, it must be returned. If the police seized the money in violation of your Fourth Amendment rights, it must be returned. Unfortunately, however, the results are not automatic. To get your money back, you must pursue a legal claim in a civil case in district court.

The procedural requirements for asset forfeiture litigation are strict, and the legal issues can be complex. It is important to have an experienced civil asset forfeiture attorney on your side. JHC’s Kansas asset forfeiture attorneys have extensive experience litigating forfeiture cases in Kansas state and federal courts. After years of dealing with civil asset forfeiture cases, we know how to put you in the best position to recover your property.

Don’t let the government keep your hard-earned cash. Call Joseph, Hollander & Craft’s Kansas civil asset forfeiture lawyers today. With offices in Wichita, Topeka, Lawrence, Overland Park, and Kansas City, we handle state and federal asset forfeiture cases everywhere in Kansas.

Top Questions About Forfeiture Action in Kansas

Can police seize my cash and keep it even if I didn’t break the law?

Laws governing civil asset forfeiture allow police to seize cash if they believe it is proceeds of criminal activity or intended to be used for criminal activity. If the government proves it is more likely than not related to criminal activity, it gets to keep the cash—unless an innocent owner claims the money. An “innocent owner” is someone who has a valid legal claim to seized cash who can show that he or she was not involved in any criminal activity related to the cash and had no knowledge of the criminal activity associated with the property.

JHC’s civil asset forfeiture attorneys routinely challenge forfeitures in Kansas state and federal courts. To see what can be done in your case, call us today.

How does civil asset forfeiture work?

Under federal law and Kansas state law, police are authorized to seize assets (e.g., cash, cars) believed to be related to criminal activity (e.g., drug trafficking, terrorism, gambling, theft) in order to forfeit that property to the government’s possession. No warrant or other court order is required to seize the property. It often happens on the side of the road during a car stop.

Police who seize your property will give you paperwork acknowledging the seizure and get your mailing address in order to provide notice of forfeiture proceedings that will be filed on a later date. Weeks to months later, you will receive notice that a forfeiture case has been filed before an administrative agency or a court. The case will be styled as if the government is suing the property itself (e.g., United States v. $1,000,000; State of Kansas v. 2022 Range Rover).

To challenge the forfeiture and maintain your rights in your seized property, you must file a claim (or a petition for recognition of exemption) with the administrative agency or court. It then becomes the government’s burden to prove by a preponderance of the evidence (an evidentiary standard that equates to saying something is more likely than not) that the seized asset is related to criminal activity.

The case proceeds much like any other civil case. Each side can make written discovery requests or take depositions. It can go to trial before a judge, or the parties can negotiate a settlement agreement.

JHC’s civil asset forfeiture lawyers are well versed on the ins and outs of forfeiture law. If your cash was seized in Kansas, contact JHC so we can help you get it back.

What is civil forfeiture?

Civil forfeiture (also called civil asset forfeiture) is a legal process whereby property is surrendered to the government due to its relationship to criminal conduct. Civil forfeiture proceedings are conducted against the property itself (as opposed to the person who used the property for criminal purposes) based on the legal fiction that the property is the offender—complicit in the crime in which it was involved. No one need be convicted of—or even charged with—a crime for the property to be forfeited.

Our Locations

Kansas City | 816-673-3900

926 Cherry St
Kansas City, MO 64106

Lawrence | 785-856-0143

5200 Bob Billings Pkwy, #201
Lawrence, KS 66049

Overland Park | 913-948-9490

10104 W 105th St
Overland Park, KS 66212

Topeka | 785-234-3272

1508 SW Topeka Blvd
Topeka, KS 66612

Wichita | 316-262-9393

500 N Market St
Wichita, KS 67214

Contact Our Topeka Office

Contact Joseph, Hollander & Craft to discuss how our team of attorneys can help you.

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