Under Oklahoma law, law enforcement agencies can seize cash, real estate, vehicles, airplanes, boats, tools and other assets upon an allegation that the asset was used in furtherance of a crime. Once a forfeiture is filed against a party’s assets, the owner must show that they are the rightful owner of the property and that they are an “innocent owner” who did not know of any alleged criminal activity involving the property. This means that if a person is the subject of a forfeiture action, they are “guilty until proven innocent”, and that if they don’t have the proper documentation showing how they obtained the asset, they may lose the asset whether they are involved in a criminal enterprise or not.
The forfeiture laws are an example of an area of the law that was presumably enacted for a good reason, i.e. to seize criminals’ assets, but which have resulted in overzealous law enforcement agencies attempting to seize property that they know or should know was not obtained through illegal means. This has resulted because the law enforcement agencies keep the seized cash, vehicles, or real estate, and auction the items that they don’t want and retain the proceeds. This gives them an incentive to seize all of the assets that they can possibly justify. If you are the subject of a forfeiture action, you would greatly benefit from the assistance of an attorney who has helped numerous people retain ownership of their property.