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Can the government take your house if you face drug charges?

On Behalf of | May 27, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

The government has the power to seize property, including houses, if there is a connection to illegal drug activity. In civil asset forfeiture, authorities can take property without a criminal conviction.

In other words, even if a trial finds people not guilty of drug charges, they can still lose their house if the government believes it has a link to drug crimes.

Direct involvement

When the government seizes property through civil asset forfeiture in drug-related cases, the link to drug crimes can involve various types of connections. These connections can include direct involvement.

For instance, the government can seize a house directly used in drug activities. This includes situations where people manufacture, store or sell drugs on the property.

Financial connection

If the government suspects that someone purchased a house with money obtained from drug activities, this financial connection can also justify seizure. For instance, if a person apparently uses drug dealing profits to buy or pay for the mortgage of a house, the government sees the property as having a tie to illegal activities.

Facilitation

Authorities can take a house if they believe it facilitates drug crimes. This means the property somehow helps in the commission of drug-related offenses. Examples include people using a house as a meeting place for drug transactions or as a safe haven for drug traffickers.

Presence of drugs or drug paraphernalia

Sometimes, the mere presence of drugs or drug paraphernalia in a house can lead to its seizure. If law enforcement finds significant amounts of illegal drugs or equipment to produce or distribute drugs, they may argue that the house has involvement in drug crimes.

Association with known drug criminals

A house may also be at risk of seizure if it has associations with individuals involved in drug crimes. If known drug traffickers or dealers frequently visit or reside in the house, the government might claim that the property has links to drug activities.

In Georgia, the government has significant power to seize property through civil asset forfeiture. This process poses a risk to property owners who may lose their homes without being proven guilty of any wrongdoing. Being as proactive as possible about civil asset forfeiture can help.