June 30, 2017By Brian Manchester
Here is a typical situation. You are driving down a highway in Pennsylvania and a State Trooper pulls you over. He asks you for your license and registration and insurance. Then he starts asking you questions that have nothing to do with the reason he pulls you over. Of course since you did nothing wrong you start answering them. Then he asks you if you have any drugs or illegal items in the car. Of course you say no. Then he asks you if you have money or a large amount of currency in the car. Being an honest person you say yes and tell him you have $10,000.00 and you are on your way to buy a car. That is when things go south really quick. You are then asked to step out of the car and after a series of more questions your money is taken. It is not illegal to carry cash but in today’s society cash is king to the police. They just love to seize it and then once seized use it to fund their training and all sorts of other police related, and often not so police related, purchases. Welcome to the hell the government calls civil asset forfeiture. This is the government’s “legal” way to take your property and money and then make you go to court to fight to get it back. The fight is not an easy one nor is it cheap. Unfortunately when the government takes you cash or property in Pennsylvania you have no right to hire a lawyer to get it back. You have to hire a lawyer in Pennsylvania or do it yourself Civil Asset Forfeiture is one of the major ways in which Pennsylvania use the police to legally take possession of your cars, cash, jewelry, or even houses.
Most of the time citizens of Pennsylvania only interact with the police when they get pulled over for a traffic offense. This has become the most popular way in which police in Pennsylvania use to seize your possessions, your vehicle, and especially your cash. Even if you have no drugs in your car or are doing anything illegal. If you have a large amount of cash and they don’t like your answers or they don’t believe you earned that money they will seize it. The major highways in Pennsylvania that cash and property is getting seized are Interstate 80, Interstate 99, and Route 322. Interstate 11-15, and The Pennsylvania Turnpike.
In Pennsylvania you do not even have to be charged with a crime for the police to seize your property. Once the property is seized then they attempt to foreclose on the property to terminate your rights to the property. Even if all you have is a small amount of marijuana the police will definitely seize your cash and claim it under the Drug Forfeiture Act.
The Police are always looking out for large sums of cash. They go to classes on how to find it and how to get people to tell them they are carrying cash. There is even a special State Police task force called S.H.I.E.L.D. These Troopers are notorious cash grabber.
Once the seizure has taken place and the police now possess the property or cash it is on you as the true owner of the property to fight back through Civil law to get your property back. You are not granted the rights and protections under the Constitutions like you would be if this were a Criminal case. As I said above, that means you are not guaranteed an attorney to fight your civil forfeiture or cash seizure. The burden can and often time does switch from the Commonwealth to you to prove that the property or cash taken by the police is legal and has nothing to do with drugs. It is in your best interest to contact an experienced Attorney in this area, because there are very strict deadlines involved and if a deadline is missed you may have lost all opportunities to try to fight to get your property back.
If you, your son, daughter, loved one in Pennsylvania has had their property or cash seized on the highways or roads in Pennsylvania or has already been arrested for a crime in state or federal court in Pennsylvania you need legal representation. Here at Manchester and Associates we represent people across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for cash and property seizures often. We have taken these cases to trial and won as well as successfully settled them all across Pennsylvania. If your cash or property was seized in Pennsylvania you have a limited time to claim your property or cash seized due to time limits set forth in the law so call us immediately. For a free consultation we can be contacted at 1-800-243-4878.