Can my car be forfeited if I am arrested?

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Can my car be forfeited if I am arrested?

I am a convicted felon on probation. I am following all terms of my probation. I just paid off my car. What if I get ever get arrested again in the fuure? Can they keep my car? Should it be in someone else’s name too? Maybe a parent and mine?

Asked on May 15, 2009 under Criminal Law, Texas

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Criminal forfeiture is the taking of your property by the state, due to its relationship to criminal activity.  Forfeiture laws vary from state to state, and can be broader or narrower depending upon the crime committed and the laws of your jurisdiction.  However, typically, criminal forfeiture may be sought when the property is used in the commission of a criminal offense, or was obtained through criminal activity.

Criminal forfeiture occurs when, after the owner is convicted of a crime, and where forfeiture is allowed under the laws of the prosecuting jurisdiction, it is demonstrated that the property has a sufficient relationship to the criminal activity to justify depriving the owner of his property rights. For example, your state may have a law that gives the judge the right to forfeit your car, if you are convicted of drunk driving or of soliciting a prostitute. The prosecutor's office may be able to seek forfeiture of your property -- even your business or home -- if you are convicted of certain offenses, such as drug trafficking or racketeering.

If you are facing a charge involving possible criminal forfeiture, you can include the issue of forfeiture (both criminal and civil) in any plea negotiations that may occur with the prosecutor.

You could put the car in someone else's name but if it's used in the commission of a crime it won't matter it will get confiscated anyway.  Your best bet is to just stay out of trouble.


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