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Cash seizure refers to the confiscation of a person’s money by government agencies. Typically, it is the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Transportation Security Administration, and the customs authorities that conduct cash seizure operations. Cash confiscation aims to deter crime before it happens or to deprive people of the proceeds of crime.
Although the rationale behind cash seizure is noble, there are many times when this civil procedure is misused to the detriment of ordinary citizens. People have given up on money they acquired legally merely because they did not wish to challenge the authorities. Fortunately, this does not have to be the case for you. If you are facing imminent cash seizure, it is vital to contact an attorney promptly to avoid losing your money. Here is all you need to know about different cash seizures and how you can fight them.
DEA Cash Money Seizure
The DEA can seize your money if you happen to be carrying abnormally large amounts of cash. The suspicion is always that you are either transporting proceeds of drug trafficking or that you intend to use the money to purchase drugs. This is because cash transactions, unlike credit card or bank transactions, are virtually impossible to track, and criminals can get away with their actions by sticking to paper money deals.
The DEA can search your possessions anywhere as long as they have probable cause to do so. Typically, this will be during routine traffic checks and at the airport. Some characteristics they look for in individuals before conducting searches include:
• Purchasing a one-way ticket, especially using cash
• Flying to California or Colorado, both of which are states where marijuana is legal
• Not making any accommodation plans
• Not having a confirmable source of income
• Having a previous record of drug-related offenses
• Carrying the money in a concealed manner
• Being a male between 18 and 40 years of age
If you fit this profile, there’s a good chance that the DEA will stop you for an inspection. Should they find a lot of cash on you, they can invoke the law to seize it and deposit in the Asset Forfeiture Fund.
Airport Cash Seizure
The TSA is yet another agency empowered to seize cash from travelers in airports. Generally, it is not illegal to carry as much money as you please within the United States. However, some amounts can be far too high as to arouse suspicion of money laundering or drug trafficking. When TSA agents search your luggage and discover that you are carrying too much money, they will confiscate it. You will then need to initiate administrative or judicial proceedings to reclaim your money.
Customs and Borders Cash Seizure
You can also have your cash seized by customs and borders officials. By law, a person traveling into or out of the USA with more than $10, 000 must declare it to the authorities. Failure to do this will result in the seizure of the money, and the person can only get it back after a successful administrative or judicial petition for return.
What to Do If Your Cash is Seized
The first thing you should do after your money is seized is to contact an attorney. The first few hours are tremendously important because the attorney can ask that any evidence about the seizure be preserved. This will come in handy when you challenge the government for depriving you of your money.
After the seizure, you have two options. The first is to petition the agency to return your money. This rarely ever works since the authorities are effectively judges in their cases. The second, more productive path is to challenge the actions of the agency in a court of law. The judicial procedure is fairer since the matter is decided by an impartial judge.
To win a court case against an agency, you have to prove that the money in your possession was legally acquired and that you did not intend to use it for the commission of a crime. As long as you prove this to a reasonable level, there is a good chance that the court will order the agency to return it to you. Your chance of winning such a case is to hire an expert attorney in cash seizure matters.
The keys to winning a cash seizure case are prompt action and getting top-notch legal representation. With an experienced lawyer by your side, it is possible to take on authorities in court and get your money back. If you have a cash seizure case, don’t hesitate to contact a lawyer. You will not regret it