Asset forfeiture is a process where the government seizes property that is connected to criminal activity. In certain cases, it does not matter when the property owner became convicted of a crime. So long as there is a connection between the property in question and criminal activity, asset forfeiture can apply.
Before plunging into the details, it will be worthwhile to review the North Carolina approach to asset forfeiture. Three major types of asset forfeiture exist under North Carolina law – criminal conduct, drug offenses and impaired driving.
What are North Carolina’s Forfeiture Laws Concerning Criminal Conduct?
According to, North Carolina General Statutes 14-2.3, the state government can seize any property that was obtained through the commission of a felony crime. As a result, this includes any profits, interest or other compensation earned through the property in question.
Therefore, either a district attorney or the attorney general must file a legal action after securing a conviction for the felony crime. There is a three-year statute of limitations to bring such an action.
What are North Carolina’s Forfeiture Laws Concerning Drug Offenses?
Under North Carolina General Statutes 90-112, the state government can seize any property connected to certain drug offenses. To clarify, this applies if the property became obtained through the commission of certain drug offenses and the property manufactured, distributed or sold illegal drugs.
What are North Carolina’s Forfeiture Laws Concerning Impaired Driving?
Referring to the North Carolina General Statutes 20-28.3, the state government can seize a motor vehicle for certain driving while impaired (DWI) offenses. Therefore, Section 20-28.3 allows for the seizure of a motor vehicle for a DWI offense if:
- The driver had their license revoked for a previous DWI offense;
- The driver did not have a valid driver’s license and the driver did not have valid insurance;
- The driver did not have valid automotive insurance; or
- The driver was speeding to evade arrest by police.
There is an important exception under North Carolina General Statutes 20-35 concerning the lack of a valid driver’s license. Furthermore, this applies to a person with a valid license – but does not have it at the time of the offense. If such a person can produce a valid license at trial, it can serve as a defense to the crime. In addition, this applies in cases where the driver’s license expired, but they applied for renewal within 30 days of expiration.
Do You Need Legal Counsel from a Proficient Criminal Defense Attorney?
Don’t hesitate to contact the dedicated lawyers at Tarlton Polk Law in Raleigh, North Carolina for professional assistance with your case.