So You Have Been Served With Civil Forfeiture Case In Oklahoma?
If you were arrested on drug charges and were driving or had cash on you, your property could be subject to civil forfeiture. Let this guide help you with what you need to do.
Step 1: Hire an Attorney or Tell Your Criminal AttorneyAs soon as you are served with papers for civil forfeiture you need to tell your criminal attorney at once. Time is of the essence to filed a verified answer and the sooner your attorney knows, the better. However, not all criminal attorneys do civil forfeiture because it is a separate case from your criminal case. Be sure to ask at your initial consultation if the fee will include civil forfeiture or if it is an extra expense.
If your criminal attorney does not do civil forfeiture, seek out other attorneys. Search criminal lawyers first, since these proceedings are becoming an increasingly popular piggyback case with a criminal case there may be a criminal lawyer who will do your civil forfeiture only.
Step 2: Sign your Verified AnswerAfter hiring an attorney, they will ask you to sign a verified answer. This document in essence claims that you own the property the State is trying to take. This document is filed by your attorney and signed by you and notarized.
Step 3: Gather All DocumentationWithin a week or so the State will send you a request for production. This document will ask you to produce all documents regarding property ownership along with additional tax information from W2 and employment information from years past. Plan on gathering documents from the previous 5 years.
Also you will be asked to answer some interrogatories, which are questions regarding the elements of the offense. You will be asked to admit or deny; but will deny most of these allegations.
This document, like all others in civil forfeiture, is time sensitive. Action must take place whenever your attorney notifies you of the receipt of the document.
Step 4: Allow Your Attorney To WorkThese proceedings can take some time. A bench trial will likely be set to prove the property seized had nothing to do with drug or drug proceeds.
Keep in mind the burden of proof is not the same as in a criminal case but a lower standard. However, if your documents are all in a row, you have a chance at wining and keeping your property.