Legal Dictionary

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Forfeiture

Forfeiture is the taking by the government of property (without compensation) that was used in connection with certain kinds of criminal activity. Forfeiture laws allow the federal and state governments to seize personal property and assets (e.g., the suspect's house, car, boat, cash, etc.) that have been used in the commission of a crime.

California narcotics asset forfeiture law is contained in Health and Safety Code Sections 11469 to 11495. California also has criminal profiteering forfeiture provisions (California Penal Code Sections 186 to 186.8) that cover assets acquired through a pattern of criminal profiteering activity. These provisions are similar to those contained in Health and Safety Code Sections 11469 to 11495.

Forfeiture actions are civil actions and are brought directly against the property. If a claimant fails to file a claim within the time periods prescribed by law, he or she permanently gives up the right to defend against the forfeiture.