Forfeitures provide funding, instead of taxpayers, for all the operating expenses of the Criminal District Attorney's Office as well as over 10% of the payroll. Since crime and criminals cost citizens a fortune emotionally and fiscally in lost/damaged property, insurance premiums, criminal justice expenses, it is only fair that the user of these government resources help fund the effort to fix problems they create.
Asset Forfeiture is a term used to describe the confiscation of assets, by the State, which are either: (a) Property that is used in the commission of a crime, (b) Proceeds gained from the commission of a crime, (c) Property acquired with proceeds gained from the commission of a crime, or (d) Property used to facilitate or intended to be used to facilitate the commission of a crime.
The primary responsibility of the Asset Forfeiture Division is to prosecute seizure and forfeiture cases pursuant to Chapter 59 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. Prior to the filing of a forfeiture lawsuit, our office assists law enforcement agencies in researching properties to be seized, advising the agencies on the legal requirements of prosecuting a forfeiture action, drafting and obtaining search and seizure warrants.
Once a forfeiture lawsuit has been filed, the assistant district attorney prosecutes the case to its conclusion. This division is responsible for obtaining service on the defendants, conducting civil discovery and presenting the evidence at trial. Once the case has concluded and a forfeiture judgment has been obtained, the investigator is responsible for seeing that the forfeited property is distributed pursuant to Texas law and in accordance with the local agreement in place between the seizing agency and the District Attorney's Office.
In addition to handling forfeiture lawsuits, this division also is responsible for reviewing and appearing on behalf of the State in all Petitions for Expunction of Records that are filed in Victoria County. The main role is to certify that the applicant has met all the statutory requirements to be entitled to an expunction. In cases where the applicant is not entitled to expunction, the office files its written opposition to the petition with the court and appears in court to argue against the petition being granted.