Remission and Mitigation of Forfeiture Penalties

Recovering Seized Property From Government Agencies

Federal asset forfeiture laws are broad in reach and harsh in their application, particularly to innocent parties whose assets are seized as a result of the alleged involvement of those assets in criminal activity. One avenue of relief for parties under these circumstances is filing a petition for remission or mitigation of forfeiture penalties.

At David B. Smith, PLLC, our asset forfeiture lawyers have the experience to advise clients whether petitioning for remission or mitigation is the right approach and, if so, to guide them through this process. Based in Alexandria, Virginia, and New York City, we handle these matters nationwide.

Taking The Right Steps To Pursue Relief From Forfeiture

Remission, referring to the return of forfeited assets, and mitigation, referring to acceptance of a smaller financial penalty in lieu of forfeiture, are discretionary forms of relief granted by the agencies that are involved in seizing property or by the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. On the federal level, these agencies include (among others):

  • Department of Justice (DOJ), Criminal Division
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
  • Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF)
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
  • U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS)

While some of these agencies share a common approach to remission and mitigation, others have their own regulations. The standards for considering petitions, required information, time limits and other matters differ from agency to agency.

Generally, both the owners of seized property and the holders of liens on those assets may file petitions for remission or mitigation. In some circumstances, victims of alleged offenses may also use the remission process to seek compensation for their damages.

At David B. Smith, PLLC, we regularly help clients pursue remission and mitigation. Attorney David B. Smith, a nationally recognized authority on asset forfeiture law, is the author of the widely cited two-volume treatise, Prosecution and Defense of Forfeiture Cases (2023), which covers this topic in depth.

Contact us today to discuss your case.