Once someone is convicted of a criminal offence from which they can be shown to have benefited financially, the proceeds of Crime Act 2002 allows the prosecution to seek a confiscation order to forfeit their assets.
The court usually orders the defendant to pay the benefit figure calculated by the financial investigator immediately or serve a term of imprisonment for non-payment. A 3-month grace period is usually allowed to make arrangements to pay the sum, but if the defendant has failed to pay and is imprisoned or already in prison, the debt nevertheless remains outstanding!
In some circumstances a further and final extension of 3 months may be allowed to make arrangements to pay.
If you’re undergoing confiscation proceedings, you’re likely to be feeling anxious and maybe even suffer from sleepless nights. It’s a challenging time and a time when working with a competent solicitor with experience in this field will give much relief from the anguish and worry.
Being under investigation can be a very stressful time. The effect all of this can have on you, and your well-being makes it all the more imperative that you select a solicitor that can help. A confiscation lawyer with experience and expertise in this area of law may even get your case stopped before it reaches the court stage.
Are you in confiscation proceedings?
If you or somebody close to you is facing confiscation proceedings, there has likely been a conviction for a serious crime. This crime may be something along the lines of money laundering, selling drugs, fraud or another crime that involves making financial gain from unlawful activity.
It’s vital that you now seek specialist legal assistance to protect your interests. You are probably feeling very stressed, confused, worried and concerned about what’s going to happen. This is very understandable. Getting legal support now may even turn things around.
Being able to support dependents is important to everybody. By taking legal support, you are likely to be able to attain a far better outcome than without doing so. Confiscation lawyers know how to obtain the best possible outcomes.
What type of actions are considered when issuing Confiscation Proceedings?
Prosecutors can apply to take back any income that has been accrued during the time that a crime took place.
Confiscation proceedings take place in the crown court when a conviction is made. They are imposed when financial gain has occurred as part of the crime, or when the criminal assets have been laundered.
Not an automatic event, confiscation proceedings have to be applied for, or instigated upon the order of the judge.
Working with the police, a financial investigator will write a statement of the criminal benefit from the crime and previous criminal lifestyles you may be assumed to have lived. The court will then demand the payment of this amount, or they will require the value of the available assets to be paid, whichever is less.
The criminal benefit is not just about the profits that are gained from committing a crime such as drug dealing, it is also the indirect profits. An example of this is when the value of a property increases that was purchased with a fraudulent mortgage. It may also be the competitive advantage gained by a business by breaching the bribery act.
The criminal benefit can be divided into two main types:
The benefit from the criminal conduct
The benefit gained from general criminal conduct
If you don’t agree with the figure that is produced on the statement, or you feel it is too much for you to be able to pay, then you can challenge the figures. This is one of the main reasons why it’s vital to engage an expert solicitor to support you.
You are going to need to persuade the court that you did not enjoy a criminal lifestyle and can lawfully account for any gains made during the period that you were involved in the criminal activities. You may also be able to secure a reduction by persuading the court that you cannot afford to repay the figure.
However, if you are given a respite on payment, you will be ordered to pay £1 and then to repay if you come into any money or you acquire assets.
Sometimes there are flaws in the order such as when a prosecutor has misled the court too.
Who Applies for Confiscation Proceedings?
The crown prosecution service typically applies to the court for confiscation proceedings to be commence. The court then must decide whether the person did benefit from their criminal activities. The court will then assume that your assets are the proceeds of crime unless you can prove otherwise.
When are Confiscation Proceedings imposed?
When you are convicted, the crown prosecution service will decide whether it wants to request the imposition of confiscation proceedings to claim the proceeds of your crime.
If the assets or property has been legitimately required and is not the result of criminal activity, it’s essential to take legal advice from an experienced confiscation solicitor immediately. This is especially true if the confiscation proceedings are related to your conviction in fraud, drug offences, money laundering or an illegal trafficking prosecution.
Instruct a legal professional as soon as possible
Whether you have had a restraint order imposed on your assets or are in the door of confiscation proceedings, we recommend that you engage a specialist fraud solicitor to support you immediately.
Not doing so will not help your case, and it won’t help you as a person who is having to endure a very challenging experience. Your dependents may get a better outcome from having an experienced fraud solicitor look at your case and find ways to craft an influential defence and an improvement on the financial details of the restraint order.
What should you do if you are given confiscation proceedings?
Criminal law can be complicated, and without knowing the rules inside out and having the experience, it is hard to defend against.
It’s essential to engage with a competent fraud solicitor who has experience in the field of confiscation orders and confiscation proceedings. They know how to challenge the confiscation to either get it removed entirely to get it adjusted to be more in your favour.
The first step will be to work through what you need to handle your everyday outgoings and to collect proof of this for the magistrates. Having to battle with the authorities over access to your own assets is frustrating and tiring. It’s vital that the confiscation order is handled well so that it’s longevity and impact is the most positive it can be.
The confiscation order will detail how much you will have removed from your assets.
Our fraud solicitors keep current with changes in the law and are familiar with what makes a strong defence strategy. By engaging one of our team, you will have access to the best defence and advice. We will support you throughout the entire process and ensure that you get the best outcome.
Can the police search my home?
The police can search your home as part of your case if they are seeking evidence. A magistrate or judge can grant a search warrant and the police as law enforcements officers will carry through the search. The search for proof will extend beyond the physical location of your home and may involve the examination of your vehicle, your place of work and also your smartphone, email, text messages, telephone calling history and more.
How Can Stuart Miller Solicitors Help?
Our confiscation lawyers have a successful record in defeating and/or limiting the extent of confiscation proceedings which can be lengthy, complicated and destructive on the individual’s business or family members affected by them.
We have been involved in some of the largest and most complex confiscation proceedings of recent times involving the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs, Trading Standards Office, Financial Services Authority, Crown Prosecution Service and specialist Economic Crime Units.
Our clients range from individuals to significant corporations. We are experienced in offering commercially focused expertise and understanding the needs of your business or family members who may be affected.
Effective representation, pro-active advice, preventative measures, methodical analysis, specialist barristers and substantial knowledge of finances are only some of the qualities necessary to defend these proceedings successfully. Our fraud lawyers have all the above attributes, together with technical knowledge and a dynamic approach to challenge what has frequently been described as the most difficult and draconian legal proceedings within the jurisdiction of English law.
Given the constant changes and updates to confiscation laws, you will require lawyers who are real specialists with the field and totally up to date with the developments and the strategies which a defence lawyer can use to push a positive defence case.
Booking a free consultation with our Confiscation Lawyers
We understand that being the subject of an investigation is a stressful time for our clients and choosing the right lawyer is of paramount importance. We therefore offer free, no obligation consultations to discuss your case and provide preliminary advice.
Please contact us and ask to speak to our confiscation lawyers to arrange a meeting, whether face to face, online or by telephone.
Would you like to discuss your case before instructing us?
If you’d like to have a no obligation chat with us before you instruct us to take your case, then contact us today.
We can provide you with a free consultation, and can also represent you at the police station if you’ve been arrested or you’ve been asked to attend a police interview. We can also look at securing your legal aid.
Please contact us for a face to face meeting or a telephone call. There is a WhatsApp link on this page if that is your preference.
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