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Sammis Law Firm

Seizure of Vessel for Forfeiture

If your boat or vessel was seized for forfeiture, retain an attorney to file a “Motion for Adversarial Preliminary Hearing” or a “Motion for Return of a Seized Boat or Vessel.”

After the motion challenging the seizure or forfeiture of the boat or vessel are filed, the court must decide at a hearing whether the boat or vessel was properly seized pursuant to Florida Statute 370.061, or whether an innocent owner was entitled to get the vessel back.

In some cases, an innocent owner might be entitled to repurchase his vessel from the State for the price of $1.00 pursuant to Section 370.061.

An attorney can represent you in a claim for a finding that you are the innocent owner of a boat or vessel subject to a seizure for forfeiture. The claim triggers an evidentiary hearing requesting a finding that an innocent owner did not know that the boat or vessel was being used illegally.

Florida Statute 843.18 authorizes forfeiture of a boat used to flee or attempt to elude a law enforcement officer.

Attorney for the Seizure of Boat in Florida

The civil asset forfeiture attorneys in Tampa, FL, at Sammis Law Firm can represent you for any case involving the seizure of a vessel or boat pursuant to Florida Statute 370.061.

If you are charged with a criminal violation committed on a boat such as fishing violations, the law enforcement officer might seize your vessel for forfeiture.

After a notice of seizure or seizure order issued pursuant to Florida Statute 370.061, the true owner of the boat or vessel can file a Motion for Adversarial Preliminary Hearing or a Motion for Return of Seized Property.

Under federal law, a vessel might be seized for forfeiture if it is outfitted for smuggling.

Procedures for the Seizure of a Boat or Vessel for Forfeiture in Florida

Florida law sets forth the procedure for seizure for forfeiture of a bat or vessel under Section 370.061.

The statute requires that the State or agency secure an ex parte initial hearing to determine whether the property in question is subject to seizure, and if it is so determined the owner of the property must be immediately notified of the seizure and advised of his right to request a post-seizure adversarial preliminary hearing.

If the State or agency did not follow this procedure and no notice was ever sent to the owner of the boat or vessel after the seizure advising the owner of the seizure and of his right to request an adversarial preliminary hearing, then an innocent owner is entitled to the return of the property.

Let the attorneys at Sammis Law Firm help you file and litigate a Motion for Return of Seized Property involving a boat or water vessel.

This article was last updated on Friday, June 19, 2020. 

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