When most of us think about criminal consequences, we probably imagine probation or time spent behind bars. However, one of the key consequences of a guilty verdict for a drug crime has little to do with being locked up. The fact is that the government can enforce criminal asset forfeiture against defendants in large-scale cases. Federal asset forfeiture is seen as particularly serious, as such high-level legal proceedings are generally reserved for the most serious violations.
Your assets can be seized because of a federal drug charge for a variety of reasons. First, if an asset was purchased with money obtained from the illegal activity -- such as drug trafficking -- it can be subject to forfeiture. An asset that is used to commit a crime can also be taken by the government. Additionally, money laundering allegations can lead to the forfeiture of assets.
These rules apply to individuals, but they can also be devastating for business operations. Consider a situation in which a trucking company's vehicles are seized because of alleged use in a drug crime. This could easily cause the business to shutter its doors, causing a wide-reaching impact that affects even unrelated parties. The federal government should not be able to abuse its powers to take assets just because of a drug trafficking charge.
The risk of asset forfeiture is just one more reason that defendants need to seek the assistance of a skilled legal team when presenting their criminal defense. Federal drug charge convictions can lead to a prison sentence, but they can also have damaging peripheral effects that could prevent your loved ones from earning money. Defendants have a right to protect their property from unfair government seizure, even if a federal distribution charge is pending.