The Asset Forfeiture Section of the District Attorney's Office consists of an assistant district attorney, a legal secretary and an accountant. The primary responsibility of the Asset Forfeiture Section is to prosecute seizure and forfeiture cases pursuant to Chapter 59 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. Prior to the filing of a forfeiture lawsuit, our office assists law enforcement agencies in researching properties to be seized, advising the agencies on the legal requirements of prosecuting a forfeiture action, drafting and obtaining search and seizure warrants, and helps with other questions that might arise. Once a forfeiture lawsuit has been filed, the assistant district attorney and the legal secretary prosecute the case to its conclusion and are responsible for obtaining service on the defendants, conducting civil discovery and presenting the evidence at trial. Once the case has concluded and a forfeiture judgment has been obtained, the accountant is responsible for seeing that the forfeited property is distributed pursuant to Texas law and in accordance with the local agreement in place between the seizing agency and the District Attorney's Office.
In addition to handling forfeiture lawsuits, this Section also is responsible for reviewing and appearing on behalf of the State in all Petitions for Expunction of Records that are filed in Hidalgo County. The main role of the Section on expunction cases is to certify that the applicant has met all the statutory requirements to be entitled to an expunction. In cases where the applicant is not entitled to expunction, the office files its written opposition to the petition with the court and appears in court to argue against the petition being granted.
The Section also assists individuals and private attorneys who have questions about expunctions or petitions for non-disclosure and provides guidance and assistance in preparing the proper documents to be filed in those cases.