Civil forfeiture is a procedure that allows the government to seize a person’s car, money, house, or other property if there are allegations the property was used to commit a crime or was obtained by crime. The owner of the car, money, house, or other property need not have been found guilty, or even charged, with any criminal offences.
Examples might include a car that was allegedly used to traffic illegal drugs; or a house that was allegedly used to store drugs; or money that was allegedly obtained through illegal means. Unlike a criminal trial, where the Crown has to prove their case with proof ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’, in civil forfeiture hearings, the government has to only show that, on the balance of probabilities, the property was either acquired via unlawful activity, or is likely to be used to engage in unlawful activity.
Civil forfeiture can result in severe hardship for property owners. In addition to being deprived of property, there is a substantial financial burden that comes with fighting the civil forfeiture process, and frustrated property owners may end up abandoning a rightful claim to their property because they simply can’t afford to fight for their property. In Calgary, when the police seize property (e.g., money, cars, or homes) as part of a criminal investigation, they will often also commence civil forfeiture proceedings in relation to the same property. This means that property owners may face both a criminal prosecution and a civil forfeiture procedure in relation to the same property. The result for property owners is increased stress and expense in defending their property interests in both criminal and civil court proceedings. If your property has been seized as part of a civil forfeiture procedure, you need experienced legal counsel in your corner to protect your rights and help you to reclaim that which is rightfully yours.
As a former prosecutor, with over 12 years of experience, and a solid track record of success you can trust Ms. Funk to use her experience and skill to mount a powerful defence on your behalf.
Serving Clients in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba & British Columbia
Ms. Funk practices in Calgary, but also represents clients throughout Alberta, such as Canmore, Banff, Brooks, Medicine Hat and Fort McMurray, as well as in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and British Columbia.