Got Axelrod? Call Our Experienced Myrtle Beach Criminal and Personal Injury attorneys.
Got Axelrod?

Piracy and Asset Forfeiture in South Carolina

When the United States stole a Spanish pirate ship called the Palmyra in 1822, it was sailed right here to South Carolina. The U.S. government had made fighting piracy a priority, but the king of Spain insisted the Americans return the Palmyra, which he had commissioned.

The U.S. Supreme Court took up the dispute and ruled that the state (i.e., the United States) had the right to take the Palmyra because it had been used to commit crimes. The fact that no one had been convicted of criminal activity didn't matter, the court said, because the "suspects" were beyond the reach of U.S. courts.

Fast forward almost 200 years, and the state's power to seize property that it claims has been used in criminal activity has been expanded exponentially...

Civil Asset Forfeiture in South Carolina

Today, federal and state law enforcement agencies can take your money and your property even if you have not been accused of committing a crime. That's right - the state can take your property.

It's called civil asset forfeiture, and it happens all the time. South Carolina law enforcement agencies and solicitors' offices rake in millions of dollars each year by seizing property - including cash, homes, land, and cars - from citizens who may or may not be involved in buying or selling drugs.

Don't believe it? Just ask Roger Roberts.

Police in Columbia took $7,500 out of his wallet during a traffic stop. They had pulled over the wrong car (whoops!), but, when they searched Roberts' passenger, they found a small amount of marijuana and cocaine in her purse. So, logically, they took Roberts' cash and refused to give it back.

If this sounds a lot like, well, piracy, that's because it is.

Can I Get My Money Back?

When the police take your property like this, one of the most basic principles of American justice gets turned on its head. We all learn in school that the burden of proof lies with the accuser. But, not when it comes to civil asset forfeiture - if you want your property back, you must prove that you didn't obtain it illegally.

This can be complicated and confusing, and police know that. They count on you not wanting to make yourself vulnerable to legal investigations by filing a lawsuit to get your property back. They also know that many people will never contact an asset forfeiture attorney because the amount of money they took won't justify the attorneys' fees to get it back...

How Can a SC Asset Forfeiture Attorney Help?

If the police have taken your property, you should immediately contact an experienced SC asset forfeiture lawyer. Your attorney can help you to either:

  • Respond to the state's forfeiture complaint; or
  • File a lawsuit against the state if the State does not file suit within a reasonable amount of time.

The state must prove that they have probable cause to believe your property is connected to the illegal drug trade - that it was used to facilitate drug sales, it is proceeds from drug sales, or it was found in proximity to drugs. If they can establish probable cause, the burden then shifts to you to prove that the money or property came from a legitimate source.

Your SC drug forfeiture attorney will help you to gather the evidence you will need to recover your property, respond to the state's lawsuit or file your own lawsuit for conversion, negotiate with the state's attorneys, and try your forfeiture case to a judge or jury if the state does not return your property.

Got Axelrod?

If the state is trying to take your money, vehicles, or other property, you need a determined and experienced Myrtle Beach asset forfeiture attorney on your side. Call Axelrod and Associates at (843) 916-9300 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation today.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Got Axelrod? Call 843.353.3449
Email Us For A Response

Get A Free Consultation

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form. Consultations will be evaluated on a case by case basis. Please note that some consultations may require a consultation fee. Please contact our office for further information.


Privacy Policy

Axelrod & Associates, P.A.
4701 Oleander Drive, Suite A
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577

Phone: 843-353-3449
Fax: 843.916.9311
Myrtle Beach Law Office Map

Axelrod & Associates, P.A.
331 E. Main Street, Suite 200
Rock Hill, SC 29730

Phone: 843-353-3449
Rock Hill Law Office Map

Axelrod & Associates, P.A.
3700 Golf Colony Ln
Little River, SC 29566

Phone: 843-353-3449
Little River Law Office Map