Georgia’s asset forfeiture laws are among the worst in the United States. Unfortunately, despite the Uniform Civil Forfeiture Procedures Act of 2015, you can expect very little transparency if you have assets seized.
If the state has reason to suspect you gained assets through criminal activity, they reserve the right to possess your property without trial. If you experienced civil asset forfeiture, do not assume the state will return your property.
Between 2016 and 2018, at least 130 reports of civil asset forfeiture went missing, according to the Georgia Center for Opportunity. Not only that, but only 74 percent of all departments faced an audit during this time. Combine this with a 61 percent inaccuracy on currency filing, and you can be sure the government of Georgia will not let go of your property if someone does not make them.
Do not delay your response
For property valued at $25,000 or less, the state can take it without a court order. According to the Procedures Act, the seizing officer must report their seizure to the District Attorney within 30 days. However, there is no penalty for failing to file a report. Unfortunately, you do not have the same leniency. If you do not claim the property within 30 days, Georgia asserts the right to your property.
The state’s purported reasoning for asset forfeiture is to punish criminals. In practice, sometimes innocent people lose their property. If you recently were the victim of civil asset forfeiture, speak with an experienced attorney about your options and how you can fight to get your property back.