402 West Broadway, Suite 400, San Diego, CA 92101 T: (310) 499-8767, E: richardhamar@aol.com

Civil Forfeiture

The Hamars believe that the Government’s power to seize and dispossess property is often abused. The Government needs no judicial approval for the seizure. There is no right to a jury trial and the Government need not prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. The property owner has no privilege against self-incrimination and other rights granted a person accused of a crime. Often, millions of dollars of property are seized for a relatively minor violation of the law.

The Hamars have been handling large and complex civil forfeitures since the formation of their partnerships in 1981. The Hamars have litigated civil forfeitures in various states of the United States, United States Districts and Circuits and they have managed forfeiture litigation in Europe and Asia.

They have handled single cases involving more than $80,000,000.00 and numerous other cases involving real property, jewelry and personal property valued well over $1,000,000.00. The Hamars often represent legitimate foreign corporations that bring cash and money orders to the United States to purchase goods or services – only to have their legitimate cash seized due to unjustified suspicion by United States Customs. Their forfeiture cases have taken them to the Supreme Court of the United States. Please see Noteworthy Cases.

The Hamars approach to civil forfeiture cases is to first analyze the history, structure and finances of the business or transaction that is the source of the property seized. This may mean a visit to a foreign country to document the legitimacy of the business. The Hamars next investigate the individual involved to establish lack of prior arrests and good character. Afterwards, a presentation is made for a return of the funds, the Hamars, if necessary, will fully litigate civil forfeitures from administrative procedures all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States.

The fees for large forfeitures cases are generally a very small percentage of the recovery, in addition to a reasonable hourly fee. In that manner, the client is able to receive the vast majority of the property returned and the Hamars are able to receive a reasonable value for their services. Smaller seizures are problematic because the work involved does not always justify a fair return to the client and law firm.