Civil Forfeiture is a legal process through which the state or federal government first confiscates and then seeks to permanently seize private property from an individual. This private property can be cash, bank accounts, real estate, vehicles, or other personal property. Civil forfeiture actions in Oklahoma are most often connected to drug-related arrests under the Uniform Controlled Substances Act. These civil forfeiture statutes allow the government to seize property when there is a connection between the property and the illegal activity or substance. By seizing property, the government often gains the property simply by doing nothing when the rightful owners do not act in time and assert their property rights.
Okla. Stat. tit. 63, § 2-504 states:
Any peace officer of this state shall seize property subject to forfeiture under [the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Act] when:
- The seizure is incident to arrest or search warrant;
- The property has been the subject of a prior judgment in favor of the state in an injunction or forfeiture proceeding under this act;
- Probable cause exists to believe the property is dangerous to health or safety; or
- Probable cause exists to believe the property has been used, or will be used, in violation of this act.
In addition, unlike the criminal proceeding underlying these actions where a public defender may be available, an attorney will not be appointed to represent a citizen in a civil forfeiture proceeding in most circumstances.
If you believe that your civil rights have been violated through civil forfeiture, you can seek legal help from the Tulsa civil rights attorneys at Monroe & Keele, P.C. We represent individuals in Tulsa and throughout the state of Oklahoma in claims involving civil rights violations and other personal injuries.