The Dangers of Asset Forfeiture


Writing at the blog of Americans for Forfeiture Reform, attorney Charles B. Frye has some sobering words of warning for those of you thinking about driving around with a large amount of cash in the car. He writes:

What are the risks of transporting large sums of cash when you're traveling?  Obviously, you could get robbed or get involved in an accident and lose the money.  Your car could catch on fire while you're buying gas and your currency could go up in smoke.  A number of bad things could happen if you carry a large amount of cash on you when you travel.  But, one risk that many folks never consider is that a law enforcement officer could decide to seize your cash, even if you are not committing a crime and the officer cannot show any reason to believe that you have committed a crime.

If you've never had a law enforcement officer stop you for a traffic violation and then ask for your "consent" to search your vehicle, you probably find it difficult to believe that you or any other "law abiding citizen" could become embroiled in a criminal case or a forfeiture lawsuit just because you happen to be carrying a large amount of currency.  But, it can, and does, happen.

Read the rest here. Read Radley Balko's 2010 Reason story on how asset forfeiture became the government's license to steal here.