Pursuant to the Victims Restitution and Compensation Payment Act, passed by the Alberta government in 2008, the Civil Forfeiture Office has seized and sought forfeiture of property owned by Albertans at a truly alarming rate. At Sitar & Milczarek, we are committed to protecting our clients as much as possible from this pervasive and intrusive legislation.
Pursuant to the Act, forfeiture can be sought for property alleged to be acquired with proceeds of crime and/or property that is alleged to have been used to assist in committing illegal acts. The standard of proof required is extremely low and you can be at risk for losing your property even if you had no personal involvement in or knowledge of the criminal activity alleged. It is also not required that the Crown obtain a criminal conviction – or even that the police lay criminal charges – before proceedings under the Act may be commenced.
In order to oppose the government's application to take your property, you are required to file an affidavit with the Court and be subject to cross-examination by a government lawyer. Without proper representation, these cross-examinations can turn into fishing expeditions by the authorities, requiring you to provide such things as bank statements, documents proving inheritances you have received, and even documents proving where and when you have your motor vehicle serviced! All types of assets can be seized and sought for forfeiture – cars, cash, and even your family home.
Unlike many other criminal practitioners, our lawyers are familiar with the civil process as we regularly launch lawsuits against law enforcement and correctional authorities. This makes Sitar & Milczarek uniquely suited to assist in these types of proceedings.
At Sitar & Milczarek, we are committed to vigorously opposing all attempts to utilize this legislation. Call us today to find out how we can employ our skills and experience to protect your property.