July 17, 2017By Brian Manchester
Civil Asset Forfeiture is one of the major ways in which Pennsylvania use the police to legally take possession of your property. The State has the power to seize your conveyances (usually vehicles), cash, real property, and other items of value (jewelry/watches), under the drug forfeiture statute. The police are on the look out to get these items seized then forfeited to the state, because they (the police) get to then use the funds. We have had cases from Interstate 80, Interstate 99, Interstate 81, Interstate 76 also known as the Pennsylvania Turnpike, Pennsylvania Route 322, Pennsylvania Route 11, and Pennsylvania Route 15. You are likely reading this because your cash or property was taken by the police in Pennsylvania. You are also saying to yourself you have done nothing wrong. Well that probably is true but if your cash or property has been seized that means the government says you have done something wrong. Even if you have not been charged. The government likes to say you have done something wrong so they can use the law to intimidate you using the law and their resources to keep your property. That is wrong and that is why my law firm fights civil asset forfeitures using the law and science. Below are a few of the results that we have been able to obtain for our clients using both legal and scientific defenses for our clients.
Most forfeiture cases result is some type of settlement agreement, just like in criminal cases. However not all cases resolve in this manner. We like to get our cases listed for trial because it forces the Attorney General office to make a decision.
I represented an individual stopped on I-81 in Carbon County Pennsylvania. This case was a lot like the one above, however the amount of money was less, but it was my client’s entire life savings, to which he was transporting between banks. The Attorney General was not willing to negotiate at all. So we had a trial. Through having a trial, two of the Commonwealths witnesses failed to appear. Thus he would only use the Trooper who pulled my client over. I was successful in keeping out the Dog Hit and Ion Scan, (see my blog on these defenses). The Judge ruled that the Commonwealth failed to prove a nexus between the funds seized and drug activity. The entire amount seized was returned for my client.
We represented an individual who was stopped on I-80 in Jefferson County Pennsylvania and had his vehicle searched because the officers claimed that they could smell marijuana. The only thing the officer found was a bag of cash, to which the officer immediately seized. Now I need to let to know that this was a vehicle full of guys heading through Pennsylvania to get to New Jersey to gamble at Atlantic City. Obviously this ruined their trip as they no longer had any funds available to gamble with. This case ended in a settlement where we were able to secure most of the cash back to our client without the need for him to travel back to Pennsylvania for a trial.
Interstate 80, Interstate 99, Pennsylvania Route 322
We have represented multiple people that have been stopped on roads in Centre County, I-80, I-99, Pennsylvania Route 322. Recently I had two cases that settled. In one case the client agreed to settle the case for a 50/50 split as the client did not want to travel back from New York for the trial, and in this particular case drugs and drug paraphernalia were present. In another case that was settled we were able to recover almost 90% of the funds taken. The case was scheduled for trial with very good defenses. However the client lived in Ohio and would have lost several days of work if he would have had to travel in for the trial. We knew what a trial would cost my client so that is what we offered the Attorney General. They accepted, rather than take the case to trial.
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 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.