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Appendix B: Civil Forfeiture Law Citations

Alabama
Standard of proof D Reasonable satisfaction, a standard akin to preponderance of the evidence.

 

Ex parte McConathy, 911 So. 2d 677, 681, 687–88 (Ala. 2005) (overturning forfeiture on the ground that mere suspicion that property was involved in a crime does not meet the “reasonable satisfaction” standard) (citations omitted); see also Alabama Evidence § 3:29 (3rd ed., 2019 update) (explaining that “reasonable satisfaction” is equivalent to the preponderance standard).

Innocent owner burden C Depends on the property. Generally, the owner bears the burden of proof. But for real property, the government bears the burden.

 

Ala. Code § 20-2-93(h).

Financial incentive F 100%.

 

Ala. Code § 20-2-93(e).

Overall grade D-
Alaska
Standard of proof D The government must show probable cause for the seizure, and the owner must show that the property is not forfeitable by a preponderance of the evidence.

 

Resek v. State, 706 P.2d 288, 290–91 (Alaska 1985); see also Alaska Stat. §§ 17.30.110, -114(a).

Innocent owner burden F Owner.

 

Resek v. State, 706 P.2d 288, 291 (Alaska 1985); see also Alaska Stat. § 17.30.110(4)(A)–(B) (placing burden on owner with respect to any conveyance).

Financial incentive C Up to 75% in general; 100% if the property is worth $5,000 or less and something other than money.

 

Alaska Stat. § 17.30.112(c); see also id. § 17.30.122.

Overall grade D+
Arizona
Standard of proof C Clear and convincing evidence.

Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-4311(M), -4312(H)(5)(a).

Innocent owner burden F Owner.

 

Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-4304(4)–(5), -4311(M), -4312(H)(5)(b).

Financial incentive F 100%.

 

Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-2314.01(D), -.03(D), 13-4315.

Overall grade D-
Arkansas
Standard of proof C+ Weak conviction provision does not require conviction of an owner, but only of the “person from whom the property [was] seized, ” and a court can waive the provision if the person fails to contest forfeiture or if the person is granted immunity in exchange for helping investigators. After the conviction provision is satisfied, prosecutors must show that the property is subject to forfeiture by a preponderance of the evidence.

 

Ark. Code Ann. §§ 5-64-505(m)(1), (m)(2)(E), (g)(5)(B)(i).

Innocent owner burden F Owner.

 

Ark. Code Ann. §§ 5-64-505(a)(4)(B), (a)(6)(B), (a)(8)(A).

Financial incentive F 100% (80% to police and prosecutors, 20% to the state Crime Lab Equipment Fund) up to a maximum of $250,000 from a single forfeiture. Any amount above $250,000 goes to the Special State Assets Forfeiture Fund, a non-law enforcement fund.

 

Ark. Code Ann. § 5-64-505(h)–(i); see also Ark. Op. Att’y. Gen. No. 99-282 (Feb. 24, 2000).

Overall grade D-
California
Standard of proof C+ Weak conviction provision does not require conviction of an owner, but only of “a defendant”—and only for forfeitures of cash and cash equivalents less than $40,000, vehicles and real property and only when a claim is filed. After the conviction provision is satisfied, property must be linked to the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

 

For contested forfeitures of cash over $40,000, the standard is clear and convincing evidence. In uncontested forfeitures, the government need only make a “prima facie case”—a very low standard akin to probable cause—that the property is subject to forfeiture.

 

Cal. Health & Safety Code §§ 11488.4(i)(1)–(4), .5(b)(1). See also People v. $9,632.50 in U.S. Currency, 75 Cal. Rptr. 2d 125, 128 n.4 (Ct. App. 1998) (saying the standard of proof “in this case” for cash worth less than $25,000 is beyond a reasonable doubt).

Innocent owner burden A Government.

 

Cal. Health & Safety Code § 11488.5(d).

Financial incentive C 76% (65% to police, 10% to prosecutors, 1% to a fund controlled by prosecutors).

 

Cal. Health & Safety Code § 11489(b)(2).

Overall grade C
Colorado
Standard of proof C Clear and convincing evidence.

 

Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 16-13-307(1.7)(c) (public nuisance), -505(1.7)(c) (contraband), -509 (currency), 18-17-106(11) (racketeering).

Innocent owner burden A Government.

 

Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 16-13-303(5.1)(a), (5.2)(c), 16-13-504(2.1)(a), (2.2)(c).

Financial incentive C 75% (50% to law enforcement, 25% to a grant fund that distributes money to law enforcement). The remaining 25% goes to drug rehabilitation programs.

 

Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 16-13-311(3)(a)(VII), -506(1), 18-17-106(2)(d).

 

Note: This restriction does not apply to funds received through federal equitable sharing, which is available only in cases where more than $50,000 is seized.

Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 16-13-306.5, -504.5, -601.

Overall grade C
Connecticut
Standard of proof B- Moderate conviction provision applies in drug, identity theft and sex-trafficking cases, even when forfeiture is uncontested. The provision does not require conviction of an owner, but only of a “person.” For other crimes, the owner must be convicted. After the conviction provision is satisfied, property must be linked to the crime by clear and convincing evidence.

 

Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. §§ 54-33g(a)–(c), (f), h(b), 554-36(c), h(c), o(b), o(c) (“court shall hold a hearing”), p(b)–(c).

Innocent owner burden A Government.

 

Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 54-33g(a)–(b), -36h(b)–(c), o(b)–(c), p(b)–(c); see, e.g., State v. One 2002 Chevrolet Coupe, No. CV2200243, 2003 WL 824266, at *3–4 (Conn. Super. Ct. Jan. 23, 2003) (holding innocent owner could recover her property because state failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that she knew about her son’s illegal activities).

Financial incentive C 69.5% (59.5% to police, 10% to prosecutors) in drug cases. In other cases, none.

 

Compare Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-36i(c) with id. §§ 54-33g(d)–(e), -36o(g), p(g).

Overall grade C
Delaware
Standard of proof D The government must show probable cause for the seizure, at which point a rebuttable presumption in favor of forfeiture arises. The owner can rebut that presumption by a preponderance of the evidence.

 

Del. Code Ann. tit. 16, § 4784(a)–(j); Del. Super. Ct. Civ. R. 71.3; Brown v. State, 214 A.3d 922, 926–27 (Del. 2019); Brown v. State, 721 A.2d 1263, 1265 (Del. 1998); In re One 1987 Toyota, 621 A.2d 796, 799 (Del. Super. Ct. 1992).

Innocent owner burden F Owner.

 

Del. Code Ann. tit. 16, §§ 4784(a)(7), 4785(a); Del. Super. Ct. Civ. R. 71.3(d); Brown v. State, 214 A.3d 922, 926–27 (Del. 2019); Brown v. State, 721 A.2d 1263, 1265 (Del. 1998).

Financial incentive F Up to 100%.

 

Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, §§ 4110–4111; id. tit. 16, § 4784(f).

Overall grade D-
District of Columbia
Standard of proof C- In general, preponderance of the evidence. The standard of proof increases to clear and convincing evidence for vehicles, real property and currency up to $1,000. Weak conviction provision requires conviction of “an owner,” but only for contested forfeitures of a primary residence.

 

D.C. Code §§ 41-308(d)(1), (4), -302(c); see id. § 41-305(c) (procedure when uncontested).

Innocent owner burden A Government.

 

D.C. Code §§ 41-302(b), -308(d)(1).

Financial incentive A No financial incentive. All currency and proceeds from sales of forfeited property must be deposited in the general fund.

 

D.C. Code § 41-310(a)(2)–(3).

Overall grade B+
Florida
Standard of proof C+ Beyond a reasonable doubt.

 

Fla. Stat. § 932.704(8); Hudson v. City of Sunrise, 237 So. 3d 1031, 1034 n.2 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2018).

Innocent owner burden A Government.

 

Fla. Stat. § 932.703(7); Gomez v. Vill. of Pinecrest, 41 So. 3d 180, 184–85 & n.2 (Fla. 2010) (explaining that Florida law changed in 1995 to place the burden of proof on the seizing agency).

Financial incentive C Up to 75%.

 

Fla. Stat. § 932.7055(5)(c)(3).

Overall grade C
Georgia
Standard of proof D Preponderance of the evidence.

 

Ga. Code Ann. § 9-16-17(a)(1).

Innocent owner burden F Owner. However, in cases involving a jointly owned vehicle, no innocent owner claim is allowed.

 

Ga. Code Ann. § 9-16-17(a)(2).

Financial incentive F Up to 100%.

 

Ga. Code Ann. § 9-16-19(f).

Overall grade D-
Hawaii
Standard of proof D Preponderance of the evidence.

 

Haw. Rev. Stat. § 712A-12(8).

Innocent owner burden F Owner.

 

Haw. Rev. Stat. § 712A-12(8).

Financial incentive F 100% (25% to police, 25% to prosecuting attorney, 50% to attorney general for various law enforcement projects) up to a maximum of $3 million per year.

 

Haw. Rev. Stat. § 712A-16(2)–(4).

Overall grade D-
Idaho
Standard of proof D Preponderance of the evidence.

 

Idaho Code §§ 37-2744(d), -2744A(d)(4).

Innocent owner burden F Owner.

 

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

Financial incentive F Up to 100%.

 

Idaho Code §§ 37-2744(e), 57-816(1).

Overall grade D-
Illinois
Standard of proof D In general, preponderance of the evidence. The standard of proof increases to clear and convincing evidence in certain situations where a related criminal case results in acquittal or non-indictment. Forfeiture is unavailable for currency under $500 related to drug possession offenses and under $100 for all other offenses.

 

725 Ill. Comp. Stat. 150/9(G), (G-5), (G-10), 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 570/505(d).

Innocent owner burden F Owner. At pretrial innocent owner hearings, the owner bears the burden of proof. However, if the forfeiture action goes to trial, the government must prove the owner’s culpability or negligence, which is not a crime.

 

725 Ill. Comp. Stat. 150/9.1, 150/9(G).

Financial incentive D 90%.

 

725 Ill. Comp. Stat. 150/13.2.

Overall grade D-
Indiana
Standard of proof D Preponderance of the evidence.

 

Ind. Code § 34-24-1-4(a); see also Serrano v. State, 946 N.E.2d 1139, 1143–44 (Ind. 2011) (requiring state to prove a close “nexus” between vehicle and drugs); Lipscomb v. State, 857 N.E.2d 424, 428 (Ind. Ct. App. 2006) (requiring state to show connection between money and drugs).

Innocent owner burden C Depends on the property. Generally, the owner bears the burden of proof. But for vehicles or equipment allegedly involved in the recording of a sex crime, the government bears the burden.

 

Ind. Code §§ 34-24-1-1(a)(10), (b), (c), (e), 34-24-1-4(a).

Financial incentive D Up to 93%, notwithstanding a state constitutional provision requiring that “all forfeitures” be paid into the Common School Fund.

 

Ind. Code §§ 34-24-1-6, 34-24-1-4(c)–(d); compare Ind. Const. art. 8, § 2 with Horner v. Curry, 125 N.E.3d 584, 597–607 (Ind. 2019).

Overall grade D
Iowa
Standard of proof C+ Weak conviction provision does not require conviction of an owner, but only “a conviction” of any person—and only for forfeitures of property worth less than $5,000 and only when a claim is filed. After the conviction provision is satisfied, prosecutors must show that the property is subject to forfeiture by clear and convincing evidence.

 

Iowa Code Ann. §§ 809A.1(4), 809A.12A(1), (1)(a), (1)(d), (8), 809A.13(7).

Innocent owner burden A Government.

 

Iowa Code Ann. §§ 809A.12(7), .13(7).

Financial incentive F 100%.

 

Iowa Code Ann. § 809A.17.

Overall grade D-
Kansas
Standard of proof D Preponderance of the evidence.

 

Kan. Stat. Ann. § 60-4113(h).

Innocent owner burden F Owner.

 

Kan. Stat. Ann. §§ 60-4112(h), (l), 60-4113(h).

Financial incentive F 100%.

 

Kan. Stat. Ann. § 60-4117; Kan. Att’y Gen. Op. No. 2018-14, 2018 WL 4922703, at *4 (Oct. 5, 2018) (concluding that forfeiture proceeds may not be used for normal operating expenses such as salaries for regular employees); cf. Kan. Att’y Gen. Op. No. 2007-15, 2007 WL 2021740, at *2 (July 6, 2007) (determining that forfeiture proceeds may be applied to special law enforcement projects but cannot be used as a regular funding source).

Overall grade D-
Kentucky
Standard of proof D+ In general, the government need only show “slight evidence of traceability” to a crime, a standard akin to probable cause, at which point the owner must show the property’s innocence by clear and convincing evidence. The government’s standard of proof increases to clear and convincing evidence for real property.

 

Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 218A.410(1)(j); Robbins v. Commonwealth, 336 S.W.3d 60, 64–65 (Ky. 2011); Gritton v. Commonwealth, 477 S.W.3d 603, 605 (Ky. Ct. App. 2015) (confirming this procedure generally applies to forfeitures of other personal property as well as of money).

Innocent owner burden C Depends on the property. Generally, the owner bears the burden of proof. But for real property, the government bears the burden.

 

Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 218A.410(1)(j); Robbins v. Commonwealth, 336 S.W.3d 60, 64–65 (Ky. 2011).

Financial incentive F 100% (85% to the law enforcement agencies seizing the property, 15% to the Office of the Attorney General or to the Prosecutors Advisory Council).

 

Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 218A.420(4).

Overall grade D-
Louisiana
Standard of proof D Preponderance of the evidence.

 

La. Stat. Ann. § 40:2612(G).

Innocent owner burden F Owner.

 

La. Stat. Ann. § 40:2605.

Financial incentive C 80% (60% to the law enforcement agencies that seized the property, 20% to the district attorney’s office(s) that handled the forfeiture action). The remaining 20% goes to the criminal court fund.

 

La. Stat. Ann. § 40:2616(B)(3).

Overall grade D+
Maine
Standard of proof D Preponderance of the evidence.

 

Me. Stat. tit. 15 § 5822(3).

Innocent owner burden C Depends on the property. Generally, the owner bears the burden of proof. But in cases involving a family’s primary residence, the government must show that any spouse or minor child co-owner knew about or consented to the owner’s illegal conduct.

 

Me. Stat. tit. 15 §§ 5821(7)(A), 5822(3).

Financial incentive A No financial incentive. All forfeiture proceeds go to the general fund unless another transfer is specifically approved by the court and by the governor or attorney general (in the case of a state forfeiture), or by the court and the relevant governmental entity (in the case of county-level or municipal-level forfeitures) with the written consent of the attorney general. However, reports indicate that almost no proceeds are, in fact, being deposited in the general fund (see articles below).

 

Me. Stat. tit. 15 §§ 5822(4), 5824. See Neumann, D. (2018a, Oct. 18). Maine law enforcement fails to report money seized in drug busts. Maine Beacon. http://mainebeacon.com/maine-law-enforcement-fails-to-report-money-seized-in-drug-busts/ and Neumann, D. (2018b, Oct. 26). Maine law enforcement is keeping drug bust money meant for state general fund. Maine Beacon. http://mainebeacon.com/maine-law-enforcement-is-keeping-drug-bust-money-meant-for-state-general-fund/

Overall grade B+
Maryland
Standard of proof C In general, clear and convincing evidence. Weak conviction provision requires conviction of an owner, but only for forfeitures of a principal family residence. When the owners of the residence are married, both spouses must be convicted. The provision can be waived if the owner fails to appear in court.

 

Md. Code Ann., Crim. Proc. §§ 12-103(d)(1), (d)(2), (e), 12-312(a–b).

Innocent owner burden C Depends on the property. Generally, the owner bears the burden of proof. But for vehicles, real property, and property intended for or traceable to drug transactions, the government must show that the property was used in violation of the law “with the owner’s actual knowledge.”

 

Md. Code Ann., Crim. Proc. §§ 12-102(a)(4), (11–12), 12-103, -312(b).

Financial incentive A No financial incentive.

 

Md. Code Ann., Crim. Proc. § 12-403(c)–(e).

Overall grade B+
Massachusetts
Standard of proof F Probable cause.

 

Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 94C, § 47(d); Commonwealth v. One 2004 Audi Sedan Auto., 921 N.E.2d 85, 88–90, 92 (Mass. 2010).

Innocent owner burden F Owner.

 

Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 94C, § 47(d).

Financial incentive F Up to 100%.

 

Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 94C, § 47(d).

Overall grade F
Michigan
Standard of proof C+ Weak conviction provision does not require conviction of an owner, but only of a “defendant”—and only for contested forfeitures of property worth less than $50,000. After the conviction provision is satisfied, property must be linked to drug crimes by clear and convincing evidence and to other crimes by a preponderance of the evidence.

 

Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 333.7521a(1–2), a(6), (2), 600.4707(6).

Innocent owner burden C Depends on the property. Generally, the government bears the burden of proof. But for drug-related forfeitures of property valued over $50,000, the owner bears the burden.

 

Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 333.7523a(2)(b) (burden on government in drug-related forfeitures), 600.4707(6)(b) (burden on government in other forfeitures); see id. §§ 333.7521a(6), .7523a(1) (procedures do not apply in drug-related forfeitures of property valued over $50,000); see also id. §§ 333.7521(1)(d)(ii), (f), 333.7531(1) (burden on owner in drug-related forfeitures under pre-reform procedure).

Financial incentive F 100% in drug-related forfeitures; 75% in other forfeitures.

 

Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 333.7524(1)(b)(ii), 600.4708(1)(f).

Overall grade D-
Minnesota
Standard of proof C+ Weak conviction provision does not require conviction of an owner, but only of “a person”—and only for forfeitures of property worth less than $50,000 and only when the owner files a claim. The provision does not apply if the government obtains “[a] person’s agreement to provide information” in exchange for a dropped charge. After the conviction provision is satisfied, property must be linked to the crime by clear and convincing evidence.

 

Minn. Stat. Ann. § 609.531, subd. 2–3, 6a(b), 6a(b)(2), 6a(d).

Innocent owner burden F Owner.

 

Minn. Stat. § 609.5311, subd. 3(d); Jacobson v. $55,900 in U.S. Currency, 728 N.W.2d 510, 519–20 & n.6 (Minn. 2007); Blanche v. 1995 Pontiac Grand Prix, 599 N.W.2d 161, 167 (Minn. 1999); see also Minn. Stat. §§ 609.5314, subd. 1(c), 169A.63, subds. 7(d), 9(e).

Financial incentive D 90% in general; 60% in cases involving prostitution or human trafficking; 100% in DWI cases.

 

Minn. Stat. §§ 609.5315, subds. 5, 5(a–c), 169A.63, subd. 10(b).

Overall grade D
Mississippi
Standard of proof D Preponderance of the evidence.

 

Miss. Code Ann. § 41-29-179(2).

Innocent owner burden A Government.

 

Miss. Code Ann. § 41-29-179(2); Galloway v. Cnty. of New Albany, 735 So. 2d 407, 411–12 (Miss. 1999); Curtis v. State, 642 So. 2d 381, 384–86 (Miss. 1994); 1994 Mercury Cougar v. Tishomingo Cnty., 970 So. 2d 744, 747–49 (Miss. Ct. App. 2007). But cf. Miss. Code Ann. § 41-29-153(a)(4)(B), (a)(7)(A) (placing burden on owner, but statute has been interpreted in above cases to place burden on government).

Financial incentive C 80% if one law enforcement agency participated in the forfeiture; 100% otherwise.

 

Miss. Code Ann. § 41-29-181(2).

Overall grade C-
Missouri
Standard of proof B Strong conviction provision requires an owner’s conviction, even when forfeiture is uncontested. Once there is a conviction, property must be linked to the crime by a preponderance of the evidence.

 

Mo. Ann. Stat. § 513.617(1) (forfeiture is “a civil procedure,” and civil cases in Missouri are subject to the preponderance standard); 513.645(6); Cnty. of Springfield v. Gee, 149 S.W.3d 609, 615–16 (Mo. Ct. App. 2004). See Rodriguez v. Suzuki Motor Corp., 936 S.W.2d 104, 110 (Mo. 1996).

Innocent owner burden F Owner.

 

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 513.615; State v. Beaird, 914 S.W.2d 374, 378 (Mo. Ct. App. 1996); State v. 1973 Fleetwood Mobile Home, 802 S.W.2d 582, 584 & n.3 (Mo. Ct. App. 1991).

Financial incentive A No financial incentive. All forfeiture proceeds go to fund schools.

 

Mo. Const. art. IX, § 7; Mo. Rev. Stat. § 513.623.

Overall grade B+
Montana
Standard of proof B Strong conviction provision requires an owner’s conviction in a criminal proceeding “held in conjunction with” forfeiture. Once there is a conviction, property must be linked to the crime by clear and convincing evidence.

 

Mont. Code Ann. §§ 44-12-207(c), -210(1).

Innocent owner burden A Government. The government must disprove an innocent owner claim by clear and convincing evidence.

 

Mont. Code Ann. § 44-12-211; see also id. § 45-9-206(8).

Financial incentive F Up to 100%. However, when forfeiture money goes to the state, annual proceeds above $125,000 must be divided equally between the general fund and a state forfeiture fund.

 

Mont. Code Ann. § 44-12-213.

Overall grade D-
Nebraska
Standard of proof A Criminal forfeiture.

 

Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 28-416(18), -431(6), -813.01(5), -1111, -1463.06; -1601; State v. Franco, 594 N.W.2d 633, 639–40 (Neb. 1999)

Innocent owner burden F Owner.

 

Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 28-431(5)–(6), -1601(3).

Financial incentive C 50%.

 

Neb. Const. art. VII, § 5(2); Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-1439.02.

Overall grade C
Nevada
Standard of proof C Clear and convincing evidence.

 

Nev. Rev. Stat. § 179.1173(4).

Innocent owner burden F Owner.

 

Nev. Rev. Stat. § 179.1164(2).

Financial incentive F 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.

Overall grade D-
New Hampshire
Standard of proof C+ Weak conviction provision that purports to require an owner’s conviction but also makes it the owner’s burden to prove innocence. The provision was enacted in 2016 and has not been definitively interpreted by the New Hampshire courts. It is unclear whether the standard of proof to link property to the crime, after the conviction provision is satisfied, is preponderance of the evidence or clear and convincing evidence.

 

N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 318-B:17-b(IV)(b), (d), 617:1-a(I). Compare id. § 318-B:17-b(IV)(b) (preponderance for drug forfeitures) with id. § 617:1-a(III) (clear and convincing for all forfeitures).

Innocent owner burden F Owner.

 

N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 617:4-a, 318-B:17-b(IV)(b).

Financial incentive D 90% (45% to local law enforcement, 45% to the state drug forfeiture fund), with caps. Local law enforcement can keep no more than $225,000 from a single forfeiture, and amounts in the state drug forfeiture fund above $1,000,000 must be turned over to the state general fund.

 

N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 318-B:17-b(V).

Overall grade D
New Jersey
Standard of proof C+ Weak conviction provision precludes forfeiture when criminal charges “related to the property seizure” are never filed against a person (not necessarily an owner) or prosecutors fail to establish “criminal culpability” of any person. The provision applies only to contested forfeitures of low-value property ($1,000 or less for cash and $10,000 or less for other property). After the conviction provision is satisfied, property must be linked to the crime by a preponderance of the evidence.

 

N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 2C:64-3(e), -3(k)(1)–(2); State v. Seven Thousand Dollars, 642 A.2d 967, 975 (N.J. 1994); State v. $2,293 in U.S. Currency, 95 A.3d 260, 266 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 2014).

Innocent owner burden F Owner.

 

N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:64-5(b); State v. Seven Thousand Dollars, 642 A.2d 967, 974 (N.J. 1994).

Financial incentive F 100% when forfeiture is pursued by local law enforcement; 95% when forfeiture is pursued by the attorney general.

 

N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:64-6(a), (c).

Overall grade D-
New Mexico
Standard of proof A Criminal forfeiture.

 

N.M. Stat. Ann. § 31-27-4.

Innocent owner burden A Government. When a person claims to be an innocent owner and shows an ownership interest, the government must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the person had actual knowledge of the underlying crime giving rise to the forfeiture.

 

N.M. Stat. Ann. § 31-27-7.1(D).

Financial incentive A No financial incentive. All proceeds must be deposited in the general fund, though agencies can retain part of the proceeds from criminal forfeiture to cover related expenses.

 

N.M. Stat. Ann. § 31-27-7(B).

Overall grade A
New York
Standard of proof C In drug cases, prosecutors must provide clear and convincing evidence that a crime occurred and then link the property to that crime by a preponderance of the evidence. Very weak conviction provision applies in non-drug cases.

 

N.Y. C.P.L.R. §§ 1310(5)–(6), (9)–(10), 1311(3)(a)–(b); Hendley v. Clark, 543 N.Y.S.2d 554, 556 (N.Y. App. Div. 1989).

Innocent owner burden A Government.

 

N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 1311(3).

Financial incentive C 60%.

 

N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 1349(2)(g)–(h).

Overall grade C
North Carolina
Standard of proof A In general, forfeiture requires a criminal conviction. However, civil forfeiture is available in racketeering cases, which are governed by a preponderance of the evidence standard.

 

N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 75D-5, 90-112; State ex. rel. Thornburg v. $52,029, 378 S.E.2d 1, 3–5 (N.C. 1989); State v. Johnson, 478 S.E.2d 16, 25 (N.C. Ct. App. 1996).

Innocent owner burden F Owner. In racketeering cases, the only context in which civil forfeiture is available, the owner bears the burden of proof.

 

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 75D-5(i); State ex. rel. Thornburg v. 1907 N. Main St., 384 S.E.2d 585, 586–87 (N.C. Ct. App. 1989).

Financial incentive A No financial incentive. All forfeiture proceeds go to public schools.

 

N.C. Const. art. IX, § 7; State ex. rel. Thornburg v. 532 B St., 432 S.E.2d 684, 686–87 (N.C. 1993).

Overall grade B+
North Dakota
Standard of proof C+ Weak conviction provision requires an owner’s conviction but does not apply if forfeiture is uncontested or if the owner enters an agreement with the prosecution for immunity or a reduced sentence in exchange for assisting law enforcement. After the conviction provision is satisfied, property must be linked to the crime by clear and convincing evidence. No conviction is necessary if it can be shown beyond a reasonable doubt that the property was used in a crime or constitutes proceeds of criminal activity.

 

N.D. Cent. Code Ann. §§ 19-03.1-36.2(1–2), -36.5.

Innocent owner burden F Owner.

 

N.D. Cent. Code §§ 19-03.1-36(1)(e), -36.6(1), -36.7(1), -37(1).

Financial incentive F Up to 100%. However, if the government’s forfeiture fund exceeds $200,000 (exclusive of legislative appropriations and multijurisdictional drug task forces) over any two-year budget period, the excess must be deposited in the general fund.

 

N.D. Cent. Code §§ 54-12-14, 19-03.1-36(5).

Overall grade D-
Ohio
Standard of proof C Clear and convincing evidence. Charging provision requires charges to be filed, and stays civil forfeiture while criminal charges are pending, but does not require conviction. The charging provision does not apply to forfeitures of cash over $15,000 or in cases where an owner dies, is unavailable or fails to contest forfeiture.

 

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2981.05(A), (C–D), (H).

Innocent owner burden C Depends on the property. Generally, the owner bears the burden of proof. But for legally titled or registered property and in cases involving property valued over $15,000 (adjusted annually for inflation), the government bears the burden.

 

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §§ 2981.03(A)(4–5), -.05(D)(3), (D)(7); see also id. § 2981.04(E)–(F) (placing burden on third-party claimants).

Financial incentive F Up to 100% in general; up to 90% in juvenile cases.

 

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2981.13(B)(4).

Overall grade D-
Oklahoma
Standard of proof D Preponderance of the evidence.

 

Okla. Stat. tit. 63, § 2-503(B)–(C).

Innocent owner burden F 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 F Up to 100%.

 

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

Overall grade D-
Oregon
Standard of proof C+ Weak conviction provision does not require conviction of an owner, but only of “a person.” The provision applies only when forfeiture is contested. After the conviction provision is satisfied, personal property must be linked to the crime by a preponderance of the evidence, and real property by clear and convincing evidence.

 

Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 131A.255(1)–(3), -.315.

Innocent owner burden A Government. The government bears the burden of proof except in cases where cash, weapons or negotiable instruments were found in close proximity to drugs, in which cases the owner bears the burden of showing by a preponderance of the evidence that the items are not the proceeds or instrumentalities of a drug crime.

 

Or. Rev. Stat. § 131A.255(2), (5).

Financial incentive C 52.5% when forfeiture is pursued by local law enforcement; 47% when forfeiture is pursued by the state.

 

Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 131A.360(1), (4), (6), -.365(1), (3), (5).

Overall grade C
Pennsylvania
Standard of proof C Clear and convincing evidence.

 

42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5805(j)(3); Commonwealth v. Teeter, No. 59 C.D. 2016, 2017 WL 4945275, at *6 n.14 (Pa. Commw. Ct. Oct. 31, 2017); see also Commonwealth v. 1992 Volkswagen Passat, No. 40 C.D. 2016, 2018 WL 341660, at *9 n.8 (Pa. Commw. Ct. Jan. 10, 2018) (Leavitt, J., dissenting).

Innocent owner burden A Government.

 

42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5805(j)(4).

Financial incentive F 100%.

 

42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5803(f)–(i).

Overall grade D-
Rhode Island
Standard of proof D The government must show probable cause for the seizure, and the owner must show that the property is not forfeitable by a preponderance of the evidence.

 

21 R.I. Gen. Laws § 28-5.04.2(p).

Innocent owner burden F Owner.

 

21 R.I. Gen. Laws § 28-5.04.2(p).

Financial incentive D 90%.

 

21 R.I. Gen. Laws § 28-5.04(b)(3).

Overall grade D-
South Carolina
Standard of proof D The government must show probable cause for the seizure, and the owner must show that the property is not forfeitable by a preponderance of the evidence.

 

S.C. Code Ann. §§ 44-53-520(b), -586(b); Pope v. Gordon, 633 S.E.2d 148, 151 (S.C. 2006).

Innocent owner burden F Owner.

 

S.C. Code Ann. §§ 44-53-540, -586(b); Pope v. Gordon, 633 S.E.2d 148, 151 (S.C. 2006).

Financial incentive D 95% (75% to law enforcement, 20% to prosecutors).

 

S.C. Code Ann. § 44-53-530(e).

Overall grade D-
South Dakota
Standard of proof D Preponderance of the evidence.

 

S.D. Codified Laws § 23A-49-13.

Innocent owner burden F Owner.

 

S.D. Codified Laws §§ 23A-49-4, -19.

Financial incentive F 100%. Forfeiture proceeds go to the attorney general’s “drug control fund” and are then distributed to law enforcement for drug enforcement efforts.

 

S.D. Codified Laws §§ 34-20B-64, 23A-49-20(2)(a).

Overall grade D-
Tennessee
Standard of proof D Preponderance of the evidence.

 

Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 40-33-107(4), -210(a); State v. Sprunger, 458 S.W.3d 482, 500 (Tenn. 2015).

Innocent owner burden C Depends on the property. Generally, the government bears the burden of proof. But for vehicles, owners must prove that they had no knowledge of the criminal use before a claim will be allowed.

 

Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 40-33-108(a), -210(a)(2), (c)–(f).

Financial incentive F Up to 100%.

 

Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 40-33-110, -211(a)–(b).

Overall grade D-
Texas
Standard of proof D Preponderance of the evidence.

 

Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 59.05(b).

Innocent owner burden F Owner.

 

Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 59.02(c), (h)(1).

Financial incentive C Up to 70% in cases where a default judgment is entered; up to 100% in contested cases.

 

Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 59.06(c), (c-3); see also Tex. Att’y Gen. Op. GA-0122 (Nov. 18, 2003) (noting 70–30 split between district attorney and Department of Public Safety).

Overall grade D+
Utah
Standard of proof C Clear and convincing evidence.

 

Utah Code Ann. § 24-4-104(6).

Innocent owner burden A Government.

 

Utah Code Ann. § 24-4-107(2).

Financial incentive F 100%.

 

Utah Code Ann. §§ 24-4-115, -117.

Overall grade D-
Vermont
Standard of proof C+ Weak conviction provision does not require conviction of an owner, but only of “a person.” The provision does not apply if the person agrees with prosecutors to avoid criminal charges in exchange for forfeiture of the property. After the conviction provision is satisfied, property must be linked to the crime by clear and convincing evidence.

 

Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 18, §§ 4243(a), (c), 4244(e).

Innocent owner burden F Owner.

 

Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 18, § 4244(d).

Financial incentive C 45%.

 

Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 18, § 4247(b)(1).

Overall grade C-
Virginia
Standard of proof C+ Weak conviction provision does not require conviction of an owner and does not apply if the owner fails to contest forfeiture. After the conviction provision is satisfied, property must be linked to the crime by clear and convincing evidence.

 

Va. Code Ann. §§ 19.2-386.1(C), .10(A).

Innocent owner burden F Owner.

 

Va. Code Ann. §§ 19.2-386.8(3), .10(A).

Financial incentive F 100% (90% to participating agencies, 10% to the Department of Criminal Justice Services).

 

Va. Code Ann. § 19.2-386.14(A1)–(B).

Overall grade D-
Washington
Standard of proof D Preponderance of the evidence.

 

Wash Rev. Code § 69.50.505(5).

Innocent owner burden F Owner.

 

Wash. Rev. Code §§ 69.50.505(1)(d)(ii), (g), (h), (i), 69.50.506(a).

Financial incentive D 90%.

 

Wash. Rev. Code § 69.50.505(9).

Overall grade D-
West Virginia
Standard of proof D Preponderance of the evidence.

 

W. Va. Code § 60A-7-705(e).

Innocent owner burden F Owner.

 

W. Va. Code § 60A-7-703(a)(5)(ii), (7), (8).

Financial incentive F 100%.

 

W. Va. Code § 60A-7-706.

Overall grade D-
Wisconsin
Standard of proof C+ Weak conviction provision does not require conviction of an owner, but only of “a person,” and a court can waive the provision if the owner fails to contest forfeiture or in other situations, including when a defendant enters into an immunity agreement with prosecutors in exchange for assisting law enforcement. After the conviction provision is satisfied, property must be linked to the crime by clear and convincing evidence.

 

Wis. Stat. Ann. §§ 961.55(1g), .555(2)(am),(3).

Innocent owner burden A Government.

 

Wis. Stat. § 961.555(5)(c), (e)–(f); cf. id. §§ 961.555(5)(b), (d), .56(1) (burden on owner with respect to establishing ownership).

Financial incentive A No financial incentive. All forfeiture proceeds go to fund schools. However, agencies can retain up to 50% of proceeds to pay for forfeiture expenses, for which they must provide an itemized report.

 

Wis. Const. art. X, § 2; Wis. Stat. § 961.55(5)(b), (e) (permitting seizing agencies to retain reasonable expenses).

Overall grade A-
Wyoming
Standard of proof C Clear and convincing evidence.

 

Wyo. Stat. Ann § 35-7-1049(k).

Innocent owner burden F Owner.

 

Wyo. Stat. Ann. §§ 35-7-1049(m), -1050.

Financial incentive F Up to 100%.

 

Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 35-7-1049(r)(i)–(vi).

Overall grade D-
Federal Government
Standard of proof D Preponderance of the evidence.

 

18 U.S.C. § 983(c).

Innocent owner burden F Owner.

 

18 U.S.C. § 983(d).

Financial incentive F 100%.

 

18 U.S.C. § 981(e); see also United States v. Pescatore, 637 F.3d 128, 137 (2d Cir. 2011).

Overall grade D-

Continue Reading: Appendix C: New Mexico Crime Analysis Methods


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