How does civil forfeiture apply to gang activity in Virginia?
Photo of Attorneys T. Noel Brooks and Jesse Baez walking outside.
Photo of T. Noel Brooks and Jesse Baez

How does civil forfeiture apply to gang activity in Virginia?

On Behalf of | Jan 31, 2023 | Criminal Defense

The state of Virginia classifies all gang activity as a felony. You may spend up to 10 years in prison if convicted. In addition to prison time, the police could seize and sell any property they believe you used for gang activity.

Civil forfeiture

Police in Virginia may sell your property due to civil forfeiture law. These laws allow the police to seize property if they can demonstrate that it was used in a crime. Along with gang activity, police often use civil forfeiture in the following types of crimes:

  • Prostitution
  • Money laundering
  • Drug crimes
  • Terrorism
  • Gambling

Forfeiture trials

A criminal court does not have to convict you of your gang-related allegations before a forfeiture trial may take place. Whether or not your criminal defense has come to an end, law enforcement agencies may file a civil action to keep any property they seized during your arrest or through related search warrants. The law allows you to fight any forfeiture actions.

Steps law enforcement must take

Law enforcement may follow due process before selling any of your property. These steps include:

  • Filing a Notice of Forfeiture
  • Serve you with the Notice.
  • Allow you up to 30 days to respond

After these steps, the court will hold a hearing. Unlike other trials, this one will be heard only by a judge. The judge determines whether the state of Virginia can keep and sell your property.

Types of seized property

Law enforcement officers may seize almost any type of property if they can prove that they believe it has an association with a crime. These types of property typically involve:

  • Cash
  • Guns
  • Vehicles
  • Real estate
  • Knives
  • Electronic devices

The process of forfeiture often feels unfair, especially if the courts find you not guilty. Fortunately, Virginia offers protection for both you and law officers during your civil forfeiture case.