Mechanisms for Forfeiture

"Civil forfeiture can occur via three mechanisms:
"1. Summary forfeiture occurs when property is summarily seized. Property subject to summary forfeiture is typically contraband, such as illegal narcotics and drug paraphernalia.
"2. Administrative forfeiture is usually commenced against property valued at less than $500,000, or against cash of any value. Administrative proceedings are conducted by the seizing agency; the government initiates a forfeiture action and will take ownership of the property if no one steps forward to contest the forfeiture.§ Real property is not subject to administrative forfeiture, even if it is valued at less than $500,000. Probable cause is the requisite standard in administrative forfeiture (as it is roughly analogous to preponderance of evidence).
"3. Civil judicial forfeiture proceedings occur before a judge. It is akin to a trial. If the value of the property in question exceeds $500,000 (or a claim of ownership is filed or real property is involved), this is the mechanism of choice."
Note: This source contains several sections that may be of interest, including:
• Appendix B: Disposition Statutes by State (p. 37)
• Appendix C: National Code of Professional Conduct for Asset Forfeiture (p. 39)
• Appendix D: National District Attorneys Association Guidelines for Civil Asset Forfeiture (p. 41)


Worrall, John L., Center for Problem-Oriented Policing, "Problem-Oriented Guides for Police Response Guides Series No. 7: Asset Forfeiture" (Washington, DC: Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, US Dept. of Justice, November 2008), p. 4.