TXLegeHub logo TXLegeHub logo
— a project of the Texas Public Policy Foundation —

Civil Asset Forfeiture

Civil asset forfeiture is a tool of law enforcement whereby the suspected fruits of criminal activity can be seized and repurposed to combat future criminal activity. “Suspected” is a key term, as current Texas law doesn’t require government to prove in court that criminal activity actually took place — or even to arrest someone for such crimes. Instead, because such illicit activity attaches to the property itself in civil forfeiture cases, and not to the individual — which is a legal oddity — property can be taken and kept with far fewer legal hurdles than exist when an individual is accused of a crime.


  • Stop governments from taking citizens’ property through civil asset forfeiture without a criminal conviction.

Talking points for liberty fighters

  • Texas law is amongst the most permissive of civil asset forfeiture, requiring only a preponderance of the evidence standard be met before the government can take property.
  • Civil forfeiture is, more often than not, done without any representation of the interests of the property owner
  • In 2017 alone, over $50 million was forfeited by agencies in Texas.
  • Texas has a track record of enshrining procedural protections, such as with the codification of Riley v. California during the 84th Legislature.

The Latest