Detroit, Michigan Civil Forfeiture Lawyer

Under state and federal law, the government can seize property or assets it believes were involved in criminal activity. Unlike criminal forfeitures where the assets are seized as proceeds from illegal activity and included in a criminal charge, in civil forfeitures a property owner doesn't have to be involved in a crime to have his or her property taken. If, for instance, a friend or relative borrows your car and it is implicated in a "specified unlawful activity," the government can seize it even though you did not commit a crime and had nothing to do with it.

Here at Burdick Law, P.C., we are highly experienced in unraveling a government allegation against the property of a client by proving the client is an "innocent owner" under the forfeiture statute and, therefore, entitled to all his or her property back.

At Burdick Law, P.C., Jim Burdick fights civil forfeitures initiated by the government. If you've had property or assets seized, contact us online today to schedule an appointment and learn how we can help you.


Because of all the abuses by the government against many defenseless – and innocent – citizens, the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act was passed with broad bipartisan support in the Congress. It makes a number of good changes in the way the government is required to act and respond, though it still does not go nearly far enough, and abuses continue to happen daily.

Unfortunately, a number of police departments and municipalities fund many of their pet projects and programs through criminal and civil forfeitures, and the trend is getting so much worse that it's like the Wild West out there. That means police and the government have great financial incentives to look for any excuse to take property they've no good reason to take and hope that, at the very least, they will be able to negotiate a good sized chunk for their departments even from completely innocent people. While the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000 has introduced many reforms and forced the government to bring its case quickly, or give the back the property, groundless civil forfeitures still plague innocent, hardworking citizens like you.


In order for a civil forfeiture to uphold a challenge, the government must prove that the property is forfeitable, and then the burden of proof, in federal cases, reverts to the property owner to prove that it is not. So, in challenging civil forfeitures, it's important to critically examine the government's reasons for seizing the property in question in the first place. All too often, a civil forfeiture takes place for tenuous reasons at best. As your attorney, James W. Burdick exposes mistakes and violations of due process on the part of government agents in civil forfeiture cases, and fights diligently to insure that you rights, and your hard-earned assets, are protected.


If you have lost property to government agents, or assets are being threatened by a civil forfeiture case, contact Burdick Law, P.C. today to learn how we can help you. Regardless of what you've been told or led to believe after talking to law enforcement, government agents, or unsophisticated or inexperienced attorneys, you can challenge the forfeiture without going broke in the process.

Assets the government commonly seizes if they believe criminal violation have occurred, include all bank and security accounts, including pension, profit sharing, 401K accounts, cars, trucks, campers, boats, airplanes, houses, real estate, businesses, hotels, motels, computers, laptops, cell phones, jewelry – even machinery, tools of trade – and oftener than not do not distinguish between the accused's assets and his or her spouse's, children's or parents' assets.

And once they get their hands on these assets, getting them back, even to use temporarily for work, is often extremely difficult and frustrating, as they constantly claim they need time, for example, to copy all content on computers, or that the cars "will be used" by the accused to continue the criminal activity, or flee from justice.They even seize money set aside for lawyers' fees, as the government claims everything that an accused has of any value was obtained through criminal conduct, and the "relation back doctrine" of forfeiture means it was the property of the government the moment it was earned, bought, or repaired with criminally derived funds.

If you ran a business for 40 years, and the government is aware of criminal conduct for the last three or four or five years only, they still seize every single asset of any value on the claim that you were "probably" committing crimes even before their own evidence says it started.

The process of grab-first-and-litigate-later often leaves citizens accused of crimes, but not proven guilty of anything, without any assets with which to fight the government, carry on their business or work, or even pay the mortgage on their homes, and car loans. Contact Asset Forfeiture Lawyer Jim Burdick so you can find out what your rights are, and get him to fight for you.