Phoenix attorney David Wolf
Wolf and Associates - Attorney David J. Wolf
The Wolf Law
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Civil Law


In general terms, the government can seize a person’s assets if they have probable cause, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the assets seized are connected with regard to certain enumerated predicate offenses, or were acquired or maintained by a criminal enterprise, or are proceeds traceable to a predicate racketeering offense. The State may proceed with forfeiture regardless of whether or not they obtain a criminal conviction.


If your assets or property have been seized or taken by the government for any reason, it is highly recommended that you IMMEDIATELY seek advice from an attorney who has experience in handling forfeiture matters.


It is imperative that a person whos assets have been seized understand that he or she may lose valuable rights to their seized assets by failing to act timely. The State also must adhere to certain time constraints within which to initiate the forfeiture complaint. If the State does not comply, the court will direct the State to return the seized assets. In some cases, claimants may have a right to request a speedy probable cause hearing.

The statutes contain exemptions which may or may not apply to your case. Most importantly, if you fail to TIMELY FILE A VERIFIED CLAIM, you most likely will lose all of your rights to your seized property. If you file a claim that is not verified, or is not filed timely, or does not meet all of the technical requirements, or is not served as required, it may be stricken by the court. In some cases a claiment may be facing criminal charges. If so, it may be beneficial to invoke the 5th ammendment, and requesting that the court impose a stay in the civil forfeiture matter during the pendency of the criminal case.

Other issues which will need to be considered depend on whether the forfeiture is filed in personam or in rem.  Even if successful, a claimant may only recover attorney's fees if the action was filed in in personam NOT in rem. If the State elects to proceed under the uncontested forfeiture provisions, a claimant can file either a petition for remission or mitigation directly with the State or a verified claim with the court, but not both.

In addition to the statutory issues, there are important constitutional issues which arise when the State seizes excessive assets, which are disproportionate to the alleged illegal proceeds, which may violate the prohibition of excessive fines clause contained in the 8th ammendment..

The forfeiture statutes are complicated further by the fact that there are two distinct chapters containing different provisions which must be reviewed and analyzed together:

  1. The RICO statutes beginning at A.R.S. §13-2312 et seq., and
  2. The procedural provisions starting at A.R.S. §13-4301 et seq.

The statutory exemptions and defenses are set forth in the procedural provisions starting at A.R.S. §13-4301. In some cases, it may be necessary to review other statutes which contain forfeiture provisions, such as the drug offense statutes under Chapter 34. Even if a claimant has filed a verified claim, a claimant MUST file a verified answer timely which contains the same information which is statutorily required to be included in a verified claim.

Please keep in mind that the foregoing discussion is not exhaustive of all of the pertinent issues which must be addressed.  The important point here is that the reader understand that there are issues which require immediate attention, in order to fully protect a claimant's rights. Attorney David J. Wolf has the experience required to preserve a claimant's right to recover seized assets in any forfeiture matter.


Bulleted ListCollect all documents that were provided to you regarding the seized asset(s), including warrants.
Bulleted ListCollect all evidence of ownership of the asset(s), including bank statements, receipts, or other ownership type documents.
Bulleted ListIMMEDIATELY contact Wolf and Associates to schedule an in-office consultation with Attorney David J. Wolf.


DISCLAIMER; Some of the information on this site refers to Arizona law, but the information may not apply to you or it may vary depending on the specific facts of your case and the nature of the charge(s) against you. The information in this web site is not legal advice and must not be considered to be legal advice under any circumstances. The contents of this site are intended to be for general information purposes ONLY and anyone viewing this site is hereby advised not to make any decisions or pursue any course of conduct based upon any information contained in this site. Accordingly, by using this web site, you are agreeing that under no circumstances will you hold Wolf and Associates P.C., or its attorneys, responsible under any circumstances arising out of the use of this site in any manner or for any purpose.