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Crimes and Criminal Procedure, 18 U.S.C. § 983, (Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act), General Rules for Civil Forfeiture Proceedings


Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act, 18 U.S.C. § 983 (2007)


The Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act 18 U.S.C. § 983, provides, in pertinent part, that the government must generally provide written notice to all interested parties in an non-judicial civil forfeiture proceeding under a civil forfeiture statute before the property may be seized. The government has the burden of proof to establish, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the property is subject to forfeiture. The “innocent owner defense” prevents the property interest of an innocent owner from being forfeited under any civil forfeiture statute if he can establish by a preponderance of the evidence that he did not know of the conduct which gave rise to forfeiture or reasonably tried to terminate such conduct once he learnedabout it. If the government prevails in a civil forfeiture proceeding under a civil forfeiture statute and the court finds that the claimant’s assertion of a property interest frivolous, the court may subject the claimant to a civil fine of ten percent of the value of the forfeited property, with a minimum fine of $250 and a maximum of $5,000.

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