Wisconsin’s civil forfeiture laws are not as bad as other states. In civil forfeiture proceedings, the government must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that property is related to a crime. That is the highest standard and equivalent to what is needed for a criminal conviction. Property owners do, however, bear the burden of proof for innocent owner claims.The financial incentives to seek forfeiture are not as strong in Wisconsin as in other states. Up to 50 percent of the proceeds from the sale of forfeited property goes to law enforcement. When the forfeited property is money, the amount flowing to police depends on the amount forfeited. If the amount forfeited does not exceed $2,000, 70 percent of the money goes to law enforcement to pay forfeiture expenses. If more than $2,000 is forfeited, law enforcement receives 50 percent. Perhaps to circumvent these restrictions, Wisconsin actively participates in equitable sharing agreements, receiving more than $50 million in proceeds from 2000 to 2008.
Forfeitures as Reported to LEMAS (Drug-related only)
Assets Forfeited per
Law Enforcement Agency
Equitable Sharing Proceeds from the Assets Forfeiture Fund (AFF)