In The News

In The News

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform: Reform in Just Name Only?

By Michael Nichols
Categories: Drug Crimes

The quiet of night in your home is rudely interrupted by a flashbang. A loud thud is followed by the door flying open. It's a team in camaflouge with badges dangiling from their necks and guns pointed at your family. You are the target of a raid. Hours later, you are given a piece of paper. It is a list of almost everything of value to you and the officer in charge of the team says: "this explains to you what you have to do next." It is a forfeiture notice.

On October 19, 2015, Governor Rick Snyder signed into law 7 bills that will revise Michigan’s Civil Asset Forfeiture statutes. While these new laws are a step in the right direction, it is not enough to rectify the flagrant violations of civil liberties caused by civil forfeiture practices.

Civil forfeiture is a process by which law enforcement agencies may seize your property simply by claiming that the property in question was used in the commission of a crime or was the proceeds of a criminal act. You may lose your property forever based only on an allegation of illegal activity. This practice happens with greater frequency to families who use marijuana as medicine.

William J. (Bill) LIvingston is tracking civil forfeiture reform. He is analyzing the reform package and his article summarizing the changes will appear in the next issue of "BRIEFS" by the Ingham County Bar Association. Find the attorneys who stay on top of the latest legal changes and who are committed to results by contacting Bill LIvingston at the NIchols Law Firm at 517.432.9000 or

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Peer Recognition

Mike Nichols is a national leader in drunk driving defense. He is a member of the Forensic Committee and Michigan delegate to the National College for DUI Defense. He is also a Sustaining Member of the College. Nichols is also a founding member of the Michigan Association of OWI Attorneys; a member of the American Chemical Society; an associate member of he American Academy of Forensic Science, Adjunct Professor of Forensic Evidence in Criminal Law and OWI Law and Practice at Cooley Law School. He is also author of the West OWI Practice book and several chapters in other books on science and the law.

Mike Nichols is recognized by his peers in Michigan as a “SuperLawyer” in DUI/Criminal Defense. Nichols has also been asked to speak at conferences by groups such as the NCDD; Various Bar Associations in other states.