Civil Forfeiture

Many people may not realize that law enforcement can use a civil forfeiture action to confiscate your property if they believe it is part of criminal activity, even if you are never arrested and charges are not brought against you. If you have been a victim of this government action in British Columbia, you need a qualified lawyer to help you have your personal property returned to you once the investigation concludes.

If you have received a "Notice of Intent" that your property is going to be subject of administrative civil forfeiture proceedings, time is of the essence. There is a very small window to respond and take action. Failure to do so often means you will forfeit your property to the government. Take action now.

I am Michael R. Shapray, and I am a criminal defence lawyer who provides the thorough, dedicated representation you need to obtain any type of property that has been taken through civil forfeiture proceedings. For dedicated assistance, call me at 604-725-4300 or email me to schedule a free consultation. For your convenience, I can meet with you at either of my offices in Vancouver or Surrey.

Fighting to Restore Your Property Seized Using the BC Civil Forfeiture Act

While civil forfeiture is used in other Canadian provinces as well, BC has specific laws regarding how seized property and assets are handled. The BC Civil Forfeiture Act states that property can be taken and you can then lose this property if it was used in unlawful activity, even if no criminal charges are filed. All different types of assets can be taken, including money, personal property and real estate. There are special property clauses, excluding real estate valued under $75,000.

In order for a government body to legally seize anything, it must follow certain steps and it is essential to follow the rules properly. I can help you execute these rules needed to help restore your rights to this property. I provide detailed services for these administrative proceedings, including:

  • I will carefully analyze the Notice of Intent to see if there are any errors or other challenges I can make on your behalf.
  • I will help you file on time and post a formal Notice of Dispute in writing that meets the necessary requirements such as being sworn under oath.
  • The Director handling the action will then have 30 days to start a proceeding in Supreme Court that pursues the civil forfeiture action or he or she can withdraw.
  • If the case moves forward, I will work to prove that you have a legitimate claim to the property and it is not the result of criminal activity.
  • I will diligently negotiate with any relevant parties for a fair outcome.
  • If the Director withdraws from proceedings, the public entity that is holding your property will be notified and I will make an immediate petition to have it release your property back into your possession.

Relentless and Results-Oriented Representation

Although there are a lot of quick deadlines within this process, it may take time to wrap things up and come to a resolution, including having your property returned to you if we are successful. I want my clients to know we are always in this together and I will be steadfast in my pursuit to help you and protect you from government intrusion. I will provide updates as they become available and let you know about every opportunity we have to maintain forward momentum.

It costs you nothing to discuss your case. Please call 604-725-4300 or email my law firm to arrange a free initial in-person consultation at your convenience. I can meet with you at either one of my office locations in Surrey and Vancouver.