Property Seizure | Wisconsin Drug Crime Cases
Property Seizure in Wisconsin Drug Crime Cases
Conviction for a drug crime in Wisconsin often includes punishments such as imprisonment and fines, but sometimes it also includes property seizure. Property seizure, or forfeiture, means the government obtains control of the assets forever.
Wisconsin law dictates that only property or assets that were either used to commit the crime or were obtained as a result of the crime can be seized. This qualification protects your other assets from seizure.
Examples of Assets That May Be Seized In A Drug Crime Case
Property that may be seized or forfeited in a drug crime case includes:
- Illegal and controlled substances.
- Equipment, products, and materials used in the manufacturing, processing, delivery, or transport of the drug.
- Materials or products used or intended for use to store the drug.
- Vehicles used in transporting the drug.
- Items used to commit the crime (ex. weapons).
- Research items that were used to plan the crime (ex. books, computers).
- Property or assets that were acquired as a result of the crime (ex. money).
- Drug paraphernalia and masking agents.
Conviction Is Required For Property Seizure
Being charged with a drug crime is not enough to warrant property seizure in Wisconsin. Your property can only be seized if you are convicted of the crime. Your property may be seized as evidence as your case proceeds, but if the case is dismissed or you are acquitted, your property must be returned to you within 30 days of the decision.
There are exceptions to this rule. Property seizure can still occur if:
- The accused has died.
- The accused has been deported.
- The accused received immunity in exchange for assisting another investigation.
- The accused fled the State of Wisconsin or the United States.
- The property was left unclaimed for 9 months.
- The property includes contraband that is subject to forfeiture.
What Happens To Property Once It Has Been Seized?
Once property has been seized, the law enforcement agency that seized it determines what to do with it. Their options include:
- Use it. Many drug crimes involve vehicle seizure. Vehicles that have been seized may be used by the seizing agency for official business purposes.
- Sell it. After one year, seized vehicles can be sold. Other items can also be sold as long as they are not harmful to the community or do not need to be destroyed.
- Remove or destroy it according to the law.
- Submit it to the FBI.
In Wisconsin, the proceeds from property that has been seized and then sold can be used to pay for forfeiture expenses. Any remaining funds are then put into the state school fund.
Protect Your Property And Your Rights
If you are facing drug crime charges in Wisconsin, you are at risk of losing your freedom, certain rights, and your property. Contact the drug crime attorneys at Eisenberg Law Offices in Madison, WI for fair and honest legal representation. We will advocate for you, ensuring your rights are protected and all legal defense options are explored.