Civil & Criminal Forfeiture Actions

Kevin J. Mahoney, a Cambridge Lawyer, Explains How the
Government Initiates a Forfeiture Action

If the government has initiated a forfeiture proceeding against your assets, you need an aggressive, experienced, and savvy Boston
criminal defense lawyer to fight governmental overreaching and safeguard your property. A forfeiture action may be initiated in one of three ways:

Criminal Forfeiture Actions

The government begins a criminal forfeiture action by alleging the forfeiture elements in the
indictment. If the defendant is convicted, forfeiture is enforced as an element of the defendant’s

Although a criminal forfeiture order against the defendant is an aspect of his or her sentence, the
rights of third parties remain open. In a federal criminal forfeiture action, third parties must file
a claim to protect their rights, within thirty days of receiving notice of a preliminary forfeiture
order. Filing this claim triggers the government’s duty to file a civil forfeiture action, if it has not
already done so.

Civil Forfeiture Actions

To start a civil forfeiture action, the government may either (a) file a complaint (i.e., a forfeiture
lawsuit) against the property, or (b) seize the property and then, within the limited time period
allowed by law, file a complaint or serve written notice of the forfeiture to any interested parties.

Administrative Forfeiture Actions

An administrative action begins when a government agency seizes a person’s property (e.g.,
when contraband is seized at the border), and issues an administrative notice. If the person whose
property was seized does not dispute the administrative notice, then he or she automatically
forfeits the property. If, on the other hand, a Massachusetts drug crimes lawyer, on behalf of the person whose property was seized, challenges the
notice, then the agency must file a civil forfeiture action to protect its forfeiture rights.

Contact the Mahoney Criminal Defense Group

If your property is seized or you receive notice of a forfeiture, the knowledgeable Boston
criminal defense lawyers at the Mahoney Criminal Defense Group can guide you through
the forfeiture process and safeguard your rights. Call us, at (617) 492-0055, to schedule a

Kevin Mahoney

Kevin Mahoney

Kevin J. Mahoney is a Boston, Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer recognized nationwide for his high-profile courtroom victories, bestselling book on cross-examination, Relentless Criminal Cross-Examination, novel insights into trial strategy, and numerous television appearances.
Kevin Mahoney