Asset Seizure and Forfeiture


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Texas law allows for the seizure and forfeiture of any property that is deemed contraband as defined by Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 59.01(2). It is not required that you be convicted of a crime, or even charged with a crime.

Contraband as defined by CCP Article 59.01(2) includes any property was used or intended to be used in the commission of certain crimes; or gained from the commission of certain crimes; or used to facilitate or intended to be used to facilitate the commission of certain crimes; or the proceeds gained from the commission of certain felonies; or acquired with proceeds gained from the commission of certain felonies.

Some examples of the types of property that is commonly seized through asset forfeiture are: houses, cash, bank accounts, real estate, jewelry, cars, guns, electronics, computers and cell phones.

Notice of Forfeiture is filed in civil court, and it must be filed within 30 days of the seizure. The State is only required prove "by a preponderance of the evidence" that the property was used or intended to be used in the commission of certain crimes; or gained from the commission of certain crimes; or used to facilitate or intended to be used to facilitate the commission of certain crimes; or the proceeds gained from the commission of certain felonies; or acquired with proceeds gained from the commission of certain felonies., this means that the government must only prove that there is just enough evidence to make it more likely than not that the property is contraband.

Article 59.01(2) "Contraband" means property of any nature, including real, personal, tangible, or intangible, that is: (A) used in the commission of: (i) any first or second degree felony under the Penal Code; (ii) any felony under Section 15.031(b), 20.05, 20.06, 21.11, 38.04, or Chapter 43, 20A, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 33A, or 35, Penal Code; (iii) any felony under The Securities Act (Article 581-1 et seq., Vernon's Texas Civil Statutes); or (iv) any offense under Chapter 49, Penal Code, that is punishable as a felony of the third degree or state jail felony, if the defendant has been previously convicted three times of an offense under that chapter; (B) used or intended to be used in the commission of: (i) any felony under Chapter 481, Health and Safety Code (Texas Controlled Substances Act); (ii) any felony under Chapter 483, Health and Safety Code; (iii) a felony under Chapter 151, Finance Code; (iv) any felony under Chapter 34, Penal Code; (v) a Class A misdemeanor under Subchapter B, Chapter 365, Health and Safety Code, if the defendant has been previously convicted twice of an offense under that subchapter; (vi) any felony under Chapter 32, Human Resources Code, or Chapter 31, 32, 35A, or 37, Penal Code, that involves the state Medicaid program; (vii) a Class B misdemeanor under Chapter 522, Business & Commerce Code; (viii) a Class A misdemeanor under Section 306.051, Business & Commerce Code; (ix) any offense under Section 42.10, Penal Code; (x) any offense under Section 46.06(a)(1) or 46.14, Penal Code; (xi) any offense under Chapter 71, Penal Code; (xii) any offense under Section 20.05 or 20.06, Penal Code; or (xiii) an offense under Section 326.002, Business & Commerce Code; (C) the proceeds gained from the commission of a felony listed in Paragraph (A) or (B) of this subdivision, a misdemeanor listed in Paragraph (B)(vii), (ix), (x), or (xi) of this subdivision, or a crime of violence; (D) acquired with proceeds gained from the commission of a felony listed in Paragraph (A) or (B) of this subdivision, a misdemeanor listed in Paragraph (B)(vii), (ix), (x), or (xi) of this subdivision, or a crime of violence; (E) used to facilitate or intended to be used to facilitate the commission of a felony under Section 15.031 or 43.25, Penal Code; or (F) used to facilitate or intended to be used to facilitate the commission of a felony under Section 20A.02 or Chapter 43, Penal Code.

Article 59.01(3) "Crime of violence" means: (A) any criminal offense defined in the Penal Code or in a federal criminal law that results in a personal injury to a victim; or (B) an act that is not an offense under the Penal Code involving the operation of a motor vehicle, aircraft, or water vehicle that results in injury or death sustained in an accident caused by a driver in violation of Section 550.021, Transportation Code.