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Can The Government Freeze My Assets And Prevent Me From Hiring Counsel Of My Choice?

No, the Government cannot freeze or restrain all your assets when you are arrested and prevent you from hiring the lawyer you want.  A federal statute provides that a court may freeze the assets of an accused before trial either "traceable' to a crime or "property of equivalent value".  Sila Luis was accused of fraudulently obtaining $45 million in a health care fraud scheme, most of which she had already spent.  She had about $2 million left.  

In order to preserve the last of her remaining assets for the payment of restitution and penalties, the Government lawyers (prosecutors) got a court order freezing the rest of her assets.  As she had no money left to spend, Luis could not hire a lawyer of her own choosing.  

In Luis v. U.S., the Supreme Court held that, if some of her assets were untainted, that is, not related to any criminal activity, then the prosecutors could not freeze those assets, because to do so would violates her 6th Amendment right to hire counsel of her choice.  This is a fundamental right which can't be taken away, even if the Government thinks it will win a conviction and wants to be able to have an accused eventually pay restitution to victims.  

So, if you're arrested and find that the Government has gotten a court order to freeze your remaining assets, preventing you from hiring the lawyer you want, an experienced criminal defense lawyer should be able to un-freeze your legitimate assets so that you can hire counsel of your choice.  

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