Seizure, Detention & Forefeiture
The aim of seizing property, including cash, or demanding that it be forfeited is to stop a person from benefitting from their crimes, or to stop money being used illegally.
If you are faced with cash seizure or forfeiture, it can be very distressing and upsetting for you and your family or business and it is vital that you have proper legal advice and representation.
The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) empowers the Police to seize cash in excess of £1000 if they suspect that it may be the proceeds of criminal conduct or intended for use in such conduct. Criminal conduct includes everything from the proceeds of drug trafficking to legitimate income which has not been declared for tax purposes. Within 48 hours of seizing cash the police must apply to a Magistrates' Court to detain the cash for up to 90 days so they can investigate its source. This process can be repeated for up to two years. Cash seizures involve criminal law and so the prosecution has to prove that the cash was illegal or going to be used illegally ‘beyond reasonable doubt’.
At any time the police can apply to keep the cash permanently ('forfeiture'). Although proceedings take place in a Magistrates' Court they are conducted under civil, not criminal, rules. Accordingly the police need only satisfy a court on the balance of probabilities, that it is criminal property. Proving the source of the property or cash can be difficult and often requires detailed consideration of financial documents.
At EBR Attridge we have a specialist team of solicitors dealing in Cash Seizures who have represented and continue to act in some of the most complex and high profile criminal prosecutions brought in relation to Confiscation & Asset Recovery.
If you are being investigated or prosecuted, please make an appointment to see a specialist Confiscation & Asset Recovery Solicitor who can attend upon you by telephone, face-to-face or online.