Justia Lawyer Rating
AV Preeminent
Avvo Client's Choice Award 2018
Avvo Rating 10 - Top Attorney
BBB Business Accredited
2019 Champion of Justice

Asset Forfeiture Defense

The Law Office of Smith and White, PLLC zealously defends individuals faced with criminal charges and criminal investigations in Seattle, Tacoma and throughout Washington. That defense includes representing our clients’ best interests in cases where private property has been seized in a civil or criminal forfeiture case. A forfeiture is based on federal or state law enforcement authorities declaring certain property to be directly connected to a specific crime. This allows those agencies to seize, and assume ownership of valuables like a house, money, jewelry, computers and cars. Forfeiture occurs most frequently in situations where the defendant is being charged, or investigated, in a drug, a money laundering or a racketeering influence and corruption (RICO) case.

Criminal Asset Forfeiture

If you have been charged with a crime, federal and state law enforcement can file a forfeiture action in connection with the criminal case. For example, if you are arrested for growing marijuana in your basement, then a criminal forfeiture can be added to the drug charges. Law enforcement will seize all property of value while the case is being tried, such as the house, money, computers and cars. If you are found guilty of the criminal charges, then the courts may decide in favor of forfeiting your property to the law enforcement agency that seized it.

Civil Asset Forfeiture

A civil forfeiture is also filed by law enforcement, but it does not require a criminal charge. In this case, law enforcement must prove that the property is somehow connected to criminal behavior. For example, if law enforcement is not able to prove that you have committed a crime, but they can prove that your property is directly connected to money laundering activities, they may be awarded a civil forfeiture and assume ownership of the seized property. However, in Washington it is possible to defend against a civil asset forfeiture and if successfully done, the agency requesting forfeiture is required to pay attorney fees for the claimant.

Client Reviews
I was represented by James White and have been nothing but satisfied with the outcome. Jame is very efficient and eliminates much of the stress that the judicial system can place on an offender. I am very grateful to have such a great attorney and owe him my gratitude for helping me when times were rough. Not only is he professional, but he is also someone you can talk to on a personal level. I highly recommend James White and would undoubtedly use him again in the future. If you are in search of an attorney, do yourself a favor and have the law offices of Smith & White represent you. Mike D.
I contacted James after my charge for reckless endangerment, and right from the start he was informative and reassuring. James worked hard to get me the best possible outcome, and was always very quick to return a call or text. He was straightforward and honest with me about my case, explaining both the good and the bad in a way that was reassuring without being misleading. Overall, I highly recommend Smith and White to anyone who is looking for the most professional representation in their legal matters. Matthew B.
Attorney James White was a beacon of hope for me at a time when my options appeared limited and the likeness of a satisfactory resolution seemed close to nothing. Not only was he able to defend me in a specific sticky situation in which I hired him for, I felt as though he also went above and beyond in efforts to provide me with the best outcome possible. His calm and professional demeanor offered such a great assurance to myself and those I care about around me. I am completely grateful for his service and I most definitely recommend Mr. White. Leyasha J.
Derek Smith guided us through a troubling legal situation with absolute professionalism. This was my first experience with a trial situation and Mr. Smith was able to address all of my questions and concerns in a way that helped address some of the fear I had regarding the legal system. Mr. Smith was highly effective during the trial and the result ended up in our favor. Legal troubles are scary and it was great knowing we had a fantastic legal team on our side to help navigate the somewhat confusing situation. My wife and I emphatically recommend this law firm. Steve B.
Mr. Smith was wonderful to work with. He was professional, knowledgeable and effective!! He takes the time to listen, which is amazing and can be a hard quality to find! He is informative and straight forward, which I truly appreciate! He was quite helpful on another matter that I asked his advise on. Thank you!!! Melika