Criminal Forfeiture

Criminal forfeiture is the government seizure of property that is connected to a crime. Criminal forfeiture is a penalty taken against a defendant after a conviction. The government may seize an individual’s property as part of the sentence. Types of personal property subject to forfeiture include illegal contraband, money gained from illegal activity and property used in the commission of a crime. Prosecutors use forfeiture in the prosecution of a number of crimes, but they are especially common in drug crime cases. An example is the forfeiture of a defendant’s home where illegal drugs were produced, sold or distributed. While it may seem like a civil action, criminal forfeiture is a criminal proceeding and a defendant is entitled to the protections of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments.