Civil forfeiture is a procedure in New Jersey – it’s actually statutory – where the state can file a civil suit, against property seized in relation to a criminal arrest, for that property to then become the state’s property. This will most often happen in cases involving drug possession, where either cash or even a vehicle is seized during the arrest.If the state can make a case that the vehicle or the cash seized was part of the criminal enterprise or was a result of the criminal enterprise, then they can get a judge to order that that property then become property of the state. It’s a civil proceeding; they don’t have as high a burden. They don’t have to prove things beyond a reasonable doubt. It is possible to actually win your criminal case and still lose in the civil forfeiture. It’s unlikely but it’s possible.That’s why it’s very important to make sure that you have an experienced attorney representing you on both the criminal and civil matters, so that you can get your property back when the matter is resolved.
The law firm of Mattleman, Weinroth & Miller, P.C., is composed of experienced criminal defense attorneys throughout the state of New Jersey. Please contact the office for a free initial consultation and get any questions answered regarding your criminal charges or procedures.