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Nevada

Nevada

Nevada earns a D- for its civil forfeiture laws:

Standard of Proof

Somewhat higher bar to forfeit: Prosecutors must provide clear and convincing evidence that property is connected to a crime.

Innocent Owner Burden

Poor protections for the innocent: Third-party owners must prove their own innocence to recover seized property.

Financial Incentive

Large profit incentive: Up to 100% of forfeiture proceeds go to law enforcement (at fiscal year end, 70% of any amount above $100,000 in the government’s forfeiture account goes to fund schools in the judicial district where property was seized).

Recent Reforms

  • None.

Recommendations

  • End civil forfeiture
  • Direct all forfeiture proceeds to a non-law enforcement fund
  • Strengthen protections for innocent third-party owners
  • Close the equitable sharing loophole
  • Strengthen transparency and accountability requirements

State and Federal Forfeiture Revenues, 2000-2019

Between 2016 and 2018, Nevada law enforcement agencies forfeited more than $12 million under state law. Between 2000 and 2019, they generated an additional $73 million from federal equitable sharing, for a total of at least $85 million in forfeiture revenue. Nevada ranks 30th for its participation in the Department of Justice’s equitable sharing program. The state does not prevent state and local agencies from using equitable sharing to circumvent state forfeiture law.

At least $85 million in state and federal forfeiture revenue
2000–2019

Year Nevada Forfeiture Revenues Dept. of Justice Equitable Sharing Proceeds Treasury Equitable Sharing Proceeds Total
2000 Unknown $717,857 $37,000 $754,857
2001 Unknown $1,208,744 $128,000 $1,336,744
2002 Unknown $2,327,734 $87,000 $2,414,734
2003 Unknown $1,414,098 $338,000 $1,752,098
2004 Unknown $3,057,339 $50,000 $3,107,339
2005 Unknown $958,577 $103,000 $1,061,577
2006 Unknown $4,811,808 $0 $4,811,808
2007 Unknown $3,171,097 $155,000 $3,326,097
2008 Unknown $3,976,608 $1,124,000 $5,100,608
2009 Unknown $2,376,957 $338,000 $2,714,957
2010 Unknown $3,170,547 $859,000 $4,029,547
2011 Unknown $3,791,926 $124,000 $3,915,926
2012 Unknown $4,275,944 $3,392,000 $7,667,944
2013 Unknown $3,390,984 $229,000 $3,619,984
2014 Unknown $4,075,559 $4,426,000 $8,501,559
2015 Unknown $3,239,387 $1,128,000 $4,367,387
2016 $4,293,189 $1,549,061 $248,000 $6,090,250
2017 $3,132,242 $7,434,604 $2,163,000 $12,729,846
2018 $4,901,149 $1,577,182 $403,000 $6,881,331
2019 Unavailable $1,648,106 $109,000 $1,757,106
Totals $12,326,580 $58,174,119 $15,441,000 $85,941,699

All revenue figures include both civil and criminal forfeitures. Revenues are not adjusted for inflation.

Nevada's Forfeiture Transparency and Accountability Report Card

Tracking Seized Property

C

Accounting for Forfeiture Fund Spending

D

Statewide Forfeiture Reports

B

Accessibility of Forfeiture Records

A

Penalties for Failure to File a Report

D*

Financial Audits of Forfeiture Accounts

F

* Agencies must file even when they have nothing to report.

For full transparency and accountability grades, visit www.ij.org/TransparencyReportCards.

Forfeitures Under Nevada Law: Key Facts

Median Value

$908

From 2016 to 2018, half of Nevada’s currency forfeitures were worth less than $908.

Property Types

From 2016 to 2018, 92% of Nevada’s forfeitures were of currency.

Civil vs. Criminal

UNKNOWN

Nevada does not report whether forfeitures are processed under civil or criminal forfeiture law.

Expenditures

UNKNOWN

Nevada does not report how forfeiture funds are spent.

Data Notes and Legal Sources

Data Notes

Property-level data were obtained via public records requests to the Nevada Attorney General. Fiscal-year figures represent seizing agencies’ gross revenues of currency and sold property and exclude transfers to other agencies. Equitable sharing data are from DOJ’s and Treasury’s annual forfeiture reports. Due to differences in reporting and accounting practices, state figures may not match aggregate numbers produced by the state or cover the same 12-month period as the federal data.

Legal Sources

Standard of proof: Clear and convincing evidence.

Nev. Rev. Stat. § 179.1173(4).

Innocent owner burden: Owner.

Nev. Rev. Stat. § 179.1164(2).

Financial incentive: Up to 100%. However, if the government’s forfeiture account contains more than $100,000 at the end of a given fiscal year, 70% of the excess must be given to the school district in the judicial district where the property was seized.

Nev. Rev. Stat. § 179.1187.

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