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A series of bills currently working their way through the Michigan Legislature are designed to reform the state’s civil asset forfeiture laws. One bill, HB 4158, was introduced in 2017 by State Rep Peter Lucido (R-Shelby Township). It would require a criminal conviction before property suspected of being involved in a crime could be seized.

 

If passed, the law would apply to property valued under $50,000. As a result, this bill would cover almost all instances of civil asset forfeiture in Michigan and so would give an additional layer of protection to citizens. It would not apply the higher-ticket items usually associated with drug racketeering.

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With civil asset forfeiture making a huge comeback under Jeff Sessions and the current justice department, having an understanding of the laws is more pertinent than ever.

Civil asset forfeiture laws vary by state, so depending on where you live, you might not need to worry about it at all. However, with federal laws possibly becoming more far-reaching and strict in the near future, it’s good to know what you’re up against. To start the new year, here are a some facts about civil asset forfeiture that might be surprising to you.

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Florida Highway Patrol trooper Daniel Cruz was severely injured on December 10 in a crash that reportedly involved a drunk driver. The driver was identified as John Bencosme of northwest Miami-Dade.

Bencosme, 26, faces multiple charges, including driving under the influence and DUI causing serious bodily injury. He was released on bond on Sunday. The press did not name an attorney for him.

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As part of a series of patrols fighting transnational organized crime operations around Mexico and South America, the US Coast Guard seized cocaine and heroin worth over $300 million. The drugs were collected by multiple Coast Guard cutters patrolling the waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

The drugs were offloaded on Tuesday, November 14th as the US Coast Guard Cutter Spencer returned from its three-month voyage to the Pacific.

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Any property can be subject to forfeiture, whether it be cars, boats, airplanes, cash, bank accounts, homes or businesses. If it can be connected to a crime, then it can be seized by the government.

You might be wondering what steps you should take to get your property back once it is seized. Here are a few pointers about asset forfeiture and how you should proceed if your property gets involved.

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