Home » Reports » Policing for Profit » Policing for Profit: Idaho

Idaho earns a D- for its civil forfeiture laws:

  • Low bar to forfeit and no conviction required
  • Poor protections for innocent third-party property owners
  • As much as 100% of forfeiture proceeds go to law enforcement

State Forfeiture Laws

Idaho’s civil forfeiture laws earn a D- for putting property owners at risk. Law enforcement agents need only tie property to a crime by a preponderance of the evidence—a low bar to forfeit. Under Idaho law, innocent owners wishing to retrieve seized property bear the burden of proving their innocence of any crimes to which their property has been linked. Idaho law enforcement agencies also enjoy a strong incentive to forfeit property because they are able to retain up to 100 percent of the proceeds.

Because the Gem State has no statutory reporting requirements, law enforcement’s forfeiture activity is far from transparent. The limited data the Institute for Justice was able to track down from state police suggest that Idaho’s law enforcement agencies probably only modestly pursue civil forfeitures, but there are no records providing a comprehensive picture of forfeiture activity in the state.

Show State Law Sources
Standard of proof

Preponderance of the evidence.

Idaho Code § 37-2744(d).

Innocent owner burden


Idaho Code §§ 37-2744(d)(3)(D)(IV) (conveyances), 37-2744A(d)(4) (real property).

Profit incentive

Up to 100 percent.

Idaho Code §§ 37-2744(e), 57-816(1).

Reporting requirements


State Forfeiture Data

No data available. Agencies are not required to track or report their forfeitures.

Idaho is the 8th best state for federal forfeiture, with over $5 million in Department of Justice equitable sharing proceeds from 2000 to 2013.

Federal Equitable Sharing

Idaho law enforcement performs better than most in terms of its equitable sharing behavior, ranking eighth nationally. Idaho’s law enforcement agencies brought in over $5 million in Department of Justice equitable sharing proceeds between 2000 and 2013, averaging nearly $384,000 per calendar year. The majority—80 percent—of Idaho agencies’ equitable sharing income comes from joint task forces and investigations, the procedures largely unaffected by the DOJ’s 2015 policy change. Indeed, just 26 assets, or 11 percent of DOJ equitable sharing seizures, were adopted between 2000 and 2013—an average of fewer than two assets per calendar year. The DOJ reform mainly targets adoptions, not joint task forces and investigations. Idaho law enforcement also brought in $2.5 million in Treasury Department funds between fiscal years 2000 and 2013, averaging almost $180,000 annually.

View Local Law Enforcement Data
(calendar years)
(fiscal years)
2000 $23,965 $0
2001 $86,499 $25,000
2002 $0 $2,000
2003 $210,174 $1,000
2004 $1,526,064 $0
2005 $497,411 $746,000
2006 $249,734 $31,000
2007 $321,353 $132,000
2008 $190,800 $28,000
2009 $302,182 $440,000
2010 $144,973 $170,000
2011 $216,946 $563,000
2012 $524,071 $152,000
2013 $1,080,693 $229,000
Total $5,374,865 $2,519,000
Average Per Year $383,919 $179,929

DOJ Equitable Sharing,
Adoptive vs. Joint, 2000-2013

Joint Task Forces and Investigations

DOJ Equitable Sharing Proceeds, 2000-2013

Sources: Institute for Justice analysis of DOJ forfeiture data obtained by FOIA; Treasury Forfeiture Fund Accountability Reports. Data include civil and criminal forfeitures. Because DOJ figures represent calendar years and Treasury figures cover fiscal years, they cannot be added.

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