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.
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:
- Money laundering
- Drug crimes
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:
- Real estate
- 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.