If you have had cash seized by the police, you will need immediate legal advice to discover whether the amount has been seized legally.
Our highly recommended criminal solicitors in London and Belfast have a wealth of experience in dealing with cash seizure and forfeiture cases, therefore we should be the first point of contact.
About Cash Seizure and Forfeiture
The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 has made it increasingly common for the authorities to seize cash above the value of £1000 and then apply to the Court for forfeiture of those monies. This is done on the basis that the police believe that the monies may be the proceeds of criminal activity or could be used to fund criminal activity.
Seized cash can normally only be held for up to 48 hours unless a court order says that it can be kept for longer. The cash will normally be kept in an account that accrues interest until the court proceedings have finished. Cash seizure involves criminal law and so the prosecution has to prove ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ that the cash was illegal or going to be used illegally.
An alternative method is cash forfeiture which is a civil matter and this means that the court can only order the forfeiture of cash if it is proved that it was ‘more likely than not’ the cash was illegal or was going to be used illegally.
Cash seizure is one of those situations where the law of innocent until proven guilty seems to have been reversed with individuals having to prove where their money has come from in order to have it returned to them, rather than the authorities having to prove it was from an illegitimate source.
The cash can be detained for up to 90 days and the process can be repeated for up to 2 years. Proving the source of cash can be difficult and often required detailed consideration of financial documents.
These powers were widely utilised by the Metropolitan Police during Operation Rize, the search of approximately 7,000 safety deposit boxes at three London locations; which enabled the seizure of a vast quantity of cash.
Experienced Cash Seizure and Forfeiture Solicitors
Our experienced solicitors are on hand to provide you with timely advice as you will need to know very quickly whether the forfeiture or seizure was legal and whether it can be challenged. If necessary, we will apply for an order to the Courts to have your money returned.
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