HB 4629 removes the provision that property owners post a 10 percent bond within 20 days of seizure to start the process of potentially returning the property to its owners.
“Everyone is required to get due process, not just the people who can afford bond,” said Rep. Lucido, R-Shelby Township. “People have rights and deserve fairness in the process of having their lawfully obtained property returned to their possession.”
Under existing law, property owners have to submit a bond equal to 10 percent of the property’s value but not less than $250 or more than $5,000 to initiate the process of claiming the seized items. If the bond is not filed within 20 days – regardless of criminal charges being brought – the property may be forfeited.
HB 4629 follows a multi-bill package signed into law in late 2015, which improved reporting requirements and transparency to replace previous regulations that gave law enforcement officials wide berth in property seizures.
“Our civil asset forfeiture laws have taken a step forward during this House session,” said Rep. Lucido. “We’ve advanced our progress in further protecting our citizens. When someone is accused of a crime and has property unrelated to that crime seized, they should get the opportunity to have it returned regardless of the money in their wallet or if they’re found not guilty.”
With this morning’s concurrent vote in the state House, HB 4629 will now go to the governor’s desk.