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Drugs POCA Solicitors
Confiscation proceedings begin once a defendant is convicted of an offence, either after trial or when they have pleaded guilty. The prosecution will be seeking to recover any benefit gained from the offence and because drug offences are deemed to be part of a criminal lifestyle the prosecution will seek to recover any items from the past 6 years that they believe were obtained from a criminal act (from the date the proceedings commenced) - a 'benefit of crime'.
When a criminal lifestyle investigation is involved proceedings can become very complex as it can involve looking through 6 years of finances which all need to be considered carefully. For this reason it's important that you instruct a defence firm who have experience and knowledge in POCA proceedings so they can act in your best interests.
At MJP solicitors we have a dedicated POCA team who have successfully dealt with many cases, some involving £500,000+ in benefits figure. Our services are available throughout England and Wales including the North West, Liverpool and Wirral. Our lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 0333 011 0515.
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The first stage is an information gathering process, which commences once the defendant has been found guilty but has not yet been sentenced. During this time both the prosecution and defence must provide certain information relating to the defendant's finances within a certain time.
The defendant must provide evidence of their income, assets and expenditures and the prosecution must provide a statement of information that contains the benefit figure they intend to seek as well as the realisable asset figure they believe the defendant has. The defendant must then serve a statement in response to the prosecutions statement with regards to the benefit figure and realisable assets.
The second stage is the confiscation (POCA) hearing where the court seek to determine the total amount of benefit gained from the crime, the available amount the defendant has available as well as the time to be served in default (if the defendant fails to pay the benefit back in the allocated time.
The court seeks to determine the amount of benefit that has been gained from the criminal act the defendant has been found guilty of. This figure includes any items that were wholly or partly acquired with the proceeds of the crime. For example if you have paid part of a mortgage off on a house, the whole house will to the benefit figure a the market price when the proceedings began. Our in-house POCA team will seek to determine if the benefit figure is a true value and will look into all areas looking for such things as the 'double counting' of assets.
Realisable Asset Figure
Once the benefit figure has been determined the court will then look into the available amount the defendant has available. This figure may include sellable assets such as cars and houses.
Once the available amount has been decided on the court will order the defendant to pay the figure, usually within 6 months.
Time Served in Default
If an individual defaults in the payment of the confiscation order the court can impose a period of imprisonment based on the figures below.
|An amount not exceeding £200||7 days|
|An amount exceeding £200||But not exceeding £500||14 days|
|An amount exceeding £500||But not exceeding £1,000||28 days|
|An amount exceeding £1,000||But not exceeding £2,500||45 days|
|An amount exceeding £2,500||But not exceeding £5,000||3 months|
|An amount exceeding £5,000||But not exceeding £10,000||6 months|
|An amount exceeding £10,000||But not exceeding £20,000||12 months|
|An amount exceeding £20,000||But not exceeding £50,000||18 months|
|An amount exceeding £50,000||But not exceeding £100,000||2 years|
|An amount exceeding £100,000||But not exceeding £250,000||3 years|
|An amount exceeding £250,000||But not exceeding £1 million||5 years|
|An amount exceeding £1 million||10 years|
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