28 CFR § 8.15 - Requests for hardship release of seized property.

§ 8.15 Requests for hardship release of seized property.

(a) Under certain circumstances a claimant may be entitled to immediate release of seized property on the basis of hardship.

(b) Any person filing a request for hardship release must also file a claim to the seized property pursuant to § 8.10 and as defined in 18 U.S.C. 983(a).

(c) The timely filing of a valid claim pursuant to § 8.10 does not entitle claimant to possession of the seized property, but a claimant may request immediate release of the property while the forfeiture is pending, based on hardship.

(d) A claimant seeking hardship release of property under 18 U.S.C. 983(f) and the regulations in this part must file a written request with the appropriate official. The request must establish that:

(1) The claimant has a possessory interest in the property;

(2) The claimant has sufficient ties to the community to provide assurance that the property will be available at the time of trial;

(3) The continued possession by the Government pending the final disposition of forfeiture proceedings will cause substantial hardship to the claimant, such as preventing the functioning of a business, preventing an individual from working, or leaving an individual homeless;

(4) The claimant's likely hardship from the continued possession by the Government of the seized property outweighs the risk that the property will be destroyed, damaged, lost, concealed, or transferred if it is returned to the claimant during the pendency of the proceeding; and

(5) The seized property is not:

(i) Contraband;

(ii) Any property, the possession of which by the claimant, petitioner, or the person from whom it was seized is prohibited by state or federal law;

(iii) Currency, or other monetary instrument, or electronic funds unless such currency or other monetary instrument or electronic funds constitutes the assets of a legitimate business that has been seized;

(iv) Intended to be used as evidence of a violation of law;

(v) By reason of design or other characteristic, particularly suited for use in illegal activities; or

(vi) Likely to be used to commit additional criminal acts if returned to the claimant.

(e) A hardship release request pursuant to this section shall be deemed to have been made on the date when it is received by the appropriate official as defined in § 8.2(c) or the date the claim was deemed filed under § 8.10(f). If the request is ruled on and denied by the appropriate official or the property has not been released within the 15-day time period, the claimant may file a petition in federal district court pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 983(f)(3). If a petition is filed in federal district court, the claimant must send a copy of the petition to the agency to which the hardship petition was originally submitted and to the U.S. Attorney in the judicial district in which the judicial petition was filed.

(f) If a civil forfeiture complaint is filed on the property and the claimant files a claim with the court pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 983(a)(4)(A) and Rule G(5) of the Supplemental Rules for Certain Admiralty and Maritime Claims, a hardship petition may be submitted to the individual identified in the public or personal notice of the civil judicial forfeiture action.

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