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Can your stuff be auctioned off if you're convicted?

Posted on June 15, 2015 6:00 PM EST

A year ago, a man was busted by Miami-Dade County police for selling weed. He knew there was a chance that he would get caught and sent to jail, but he probably had no clue that his car would be sold at a rock-bottom price, and the proceeds sent to the police department.

In June of 2014, police spotted Mr. Rolle opening the hood of his 2011 Nissan Maxima, and retrieving a white plastic bag that had been placed on top of the engine. Rolle opened the bag and exposed a gallon baggie of marijuana. He then went inside a home and came back out and stuffed the bag of marijuana into the Nissan's gas tank.

At the vehicle's forfeiture hearing in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court, an officer testified saying that the bag retrieved from the Nissan's gas tank contained 23 grams of weed.

Fast forward one year later, to June of 2015.

Rolle's burgundy 2011 Nissan Maxima, along with a bunch of other seized vehicles were displayed on an online auction site. A few days before the auction closed, the Nissan's bid stood at the $4,000.09 that was offered by the site. Usually, a 2011 Nissan Maxima in similar condition would sell for around $12,000.

Miami-Dade Police Sgt. Edelmira Moraitis, who runs the auction program said that anyone could buy the vehicle, with the exception of county employees.

According to the Miami Herald, dozens of vehicles are auctioned all the time by police agencies throughout Florida after being forfeited from owners who broke the law. In Rolle's case, the court determined that he used the Nissan to sell drugs; therefore, his vehicle could be taken away from him and sold at auction.

The proceeds from the Maxima and other forfeited vehicles goes to Miami-Dade County Police Department's Law Enforcement Trust Fund, which funds a variety of causes such as the athletic league for kids and other projects that the department believes are worthy.FLORIDA'S ASSET FORFEITURE LAWUnder Sec. 932.703 of the Florida Statutes, any motor vehicle, money, aircraft, vessel, or other personal property, including a home or real estate property that is used in violation of the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act may be seized and forfeited.

In November of 2014, 10 Investigates drew attention to how Florida law enforcement agencies were using the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act to seize property and cash from felons, often basing their efforts on profitability factors.

According to 10 News, when people were accused of crimes, they often ran into great difficulty getting their property back.

Concerned about your property being forfeited? Contact a Miami criminal defense lawyer from Donet, McMillan & Trontz, P.A. for a hard-hitting defense!
Categories: Criminal Defense