Civil Asset Forfeiture: When the Law Confiscates from the Poor

Here’s an essay on some of the basics of forfeiture. It’s published with prettier formatting here.

Civil Asset Forfeiture: When the Law Confiscates from the Poor

If the police suspect that your property has been connected with criminal activity then it can seize that property without a warrant and without a trial.

That’s called civil asset forfeiture, or just civil forfeiture. It’s based on the legal fiction that property can be criminally guilty: Cash, cars, and even houses are seized because they may have been connected in any way to criminal activity.

The police don’t need to wait for a conviction to initiate forfeiture. Officers can seize the assets if the owner was never charged with a crime in the first place, and keep the assets even if the owner is acquitted of any crimes.

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