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Oklahoma

Oklahoma

Oklahoma earns a D- for its civil forfeiture laws:

Standard of Proof

Low bar to forfeit: Prosecutors must prove by preponderance of the 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.

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
  • Adopt strong transparency and accountability requirements

State and Federal Forfeiture Revenues, 2000-2019

Between 2000 and 2018, Oklahoma law enforcement agencies forfeited nearly $124 million under state law. Between 2000 and 2019, they generated an additional $74 million from federal equitable sharing, for a total of at least $198 million in forfeiture revenue. Oklahoma ranks 14th 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 $198 million in state and federal forfeiture revenue
2000–2019

Year Oklahoma Forfeiture Revenues Dept. of Justice Equitable Sharing Proceeds Treasury Equitable Sharing Proceeds Total
2000 $4,455,877 $1,384,903 $0 $5,840,780
2001 $5,095,149 $729,415 $0 $5,824,564
2002 $5,034,098 $5,754,965 $8000 $10,797,063
2003 $8,357,122 $6,418,639 $6,000 $14,781,761
2004 $9,039,476 $5,630,156 $13,000 $14,682,632
2005 $7,864,793 $7,158,850 $142,000 $15,165,643
2006 $7,886,299 $6,569,517 $21,000 $14,476,816
2007 $8,054,586 $6,189,501 $5000 $14,249,087
2008 $7,906,582 $2,579,483 $63,000 $10,549,065
2009 $5,575,368 $5,173,845 $249,000 $10,998,213
2010 $6,964,132 $2,679,518 $114,000 $9,757,650
2011 $6,247,284 $4,185,955 $739,000 $11,172,239
2012 $4,310,089 $2,649,990 $1,000,000 $7,960,079
2013 $6,580,718 $2,361,790 $155,000 $9,097,508
2014 $5,710,484 $2,305,791 $774,000 $8,790,275
2015 $4,680,244 $1,163,078 $473,000 $6,316,322
2016 $5,312,756 $2,046,368 $68,000 $7,427,124
2017 $7,746,556 $787,187 $1,434,000 $9,967,743
2018 $7,139,947 $1,481,230 $363,000 $8,984,177
2019 Unavailable $1,820,964 $164,000 $1,984,964
Totals $123,961,560 $69,071,145 $5,791,000 $198,823,705

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

Oklahoma's Forfeiture Transparency and Accountability Report Card

Tracking Seized Property

D+

Accounting for Forfeiture Fund Spending

F

Statewide Forfeiture Reports

F

Accessibility of Forfeiture Records

D

Penalties for Failure to File a Report

Incomplete

Financial Audits of Forfeiture Accounts

F

No reporting requirements to enforce.

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

Forfeitures Under Oklahoma Law: Key Facts

Median Value

UNKNOWN

Oklahoma does not report property-level data necessary to calculate median forfeiture value.

Property Types

UNKNOWN

Oklahoma does not report the types of property forfeited.

Civil vs. Criminal

UNKNOWN

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

Expenditures

From 2005 to 2018, Oklahoma district attorneys spent nearly $91 million from forfeiture funds—half on other expenses, mostly interagency transfers.

Data Notes and Legal Sources

Data Notes

Data were obtained via public records requests to the Oklahoma District Attorneys Council. Fiscal-year proceeds include cash forfeitures and sold property. All Oklahoma forfeiture proceeds go to DA-managed funds; DAs then transfer seizing agencies their cut. Expenditure figures reported here represent only DAs’ expenditures, including those transfers. The data do not indicate how recipient agencies spent those transfers. 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: Preponderance of the evidence.

Okla. Stat. tit. 63, § 2-503(B)–(C).

Innocent owner burden: Owner.

Okla. Stat. tit. 63, § 2-503(A)(4)(b), (A)(7); State ex rel. Campbell v. Eighteen Thousand Two Hundred Thirty–Five Dollars, 184 P.3d 1078, 1081 (Okla. 2008).

Financial incentive: Up to 100%

Okla. Stat. tit. 63, §§ 2-503(F)(2), -506(L), -508.

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