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South Carolina Asset Forfeiture Laws Ruled Unconstitutional

South Carolina’s laws permitting law enforcement to seize and retain a person’s property, including cash, vehicles, and even homes, upon an arrest for a South Carolina Drug Crime has been found unconstitutional by a Circuit Court Judge in Horry County, South Carolina.

Routinely, the South Carolina Criminal Defense Attorney is faced with the situation of asset seizure by law enforcement. Following the arrest of an individual for a drug crime, law enforcement will seize the individual’s property that is in proximity to the alleged criminal conduct, including cash, vehicles, weapons and even homes and businesses. In the past, the seizure of property after an arrest under the property forfeiture laws seemingly went hand in hand with the arrest for a drug crime. However, a Circuit Court Judge ruled that the statutory scheme of laws permitting the seizure of assets by law enforcement following an arrest of an individual for a drug crime is unconstitutional.

It appears that there will be no movement in pending asset forfeiture cases until the Circuit Judge’s ruling works its way through the appeals process.