How To Deal With A Currency Seizure Case

Posted on: 2 August 2023

The idea that the government might seize your money is among the most shocking of legal scenarios. If you've suffered a currency seizure, you probably are at a loss for how to respond to the situation. Here is how a currency seizure attorney typically approaches a client's case.

Identifying the Seizing Agency

You first need to figure out whose authority was involved in the seizure. This will likely determine the jurisdiction of the case. It also will tell you how severe the case might be. A court-ordered seizure of the currency in association with a criminal case will present challenges that you won't see in a border crossing case, for example.

Under U.S. law, the seizing party should provide you with a sort of receipt for the currency. This document should identify the agency or court that authorized the seizure, too. Make copies of these documents to give to a currency seizure lawyer.

Understanding the Purpose of the Seizure

The next item is determining what the seizure is about. Many arguments exist for seizures. Customs officials may seize undeclared money. Courts can order seizures in criminal and civil cases. Police can also seize currency in association with investigations of alleged crimes ranging from money laundering to terrorism. Tax agencies can seize currency, too. Some agencies will even seize currency based on the use of small transactions to bank accounts because they allege this masks financial activities.

Assessing Defenses

Many defenses exist. You can assert that your activities were legal. You could also argue that the government is wrong about a basic fact. Perhaps the amount of money in question didn't exceed a legal threshold for declaration. Duress is another argument. If someone was blackmailing you, the transfer amounts could look suspicious. You can also argue that the seizure was illegal.

Getting the Money Back

Where currency seizure cases can get tricky is that the government isn't always obliged under due process rules to do much after the seizure. You may have to sue the government to compel the return of the seized currency. There are scenarios where a seizure can occur and then the government never bothers to take a person to court. Instead, the state simply sits on your money.

Ideally, you can resolve whatever associated matter triggered the seizure. If the government brings criminal charges for something like money laundering, you want to beat that case. With a little luck, the judge in the case orders the currency's return. If you're unlucky, then you'll have to sue.

Contact currency seizure lawyers near you to learn more.