The Code of Virginia §19.2-386.22 permits Virginia law enforcement officers to seize any money or property used in substantial connection with or traceable to the illegal manufacture, sale or distribution of controlled substances. This process is known as asset forfeiture, and it may take place through either criminal or civil procedures. At least 90% of these assets are given to the law enforcement agency that seized them, giving them a strong financial incentive to exercise this capability. The remainder is retained by DCJS or given to the State Literary Fund. Over $5 million was distributed by this DCJS program in 2017.
References and further reading
- Bowes, M. (2015, August 1). What happens to assets seized from drug dealers? Richmond Times-Dispatch.
- Carpenter, D. M., Knepper, L., Erickson, A. C., McDonald, J., Hottot, W., & Diggs, K. (2015, November 4). Policing for Profit: The Abuse of Civil Asset Forfeiture (2nd ed.). Arlington, VA: Institute for Justice.
- Ecker, F. C. (2017, December 18). Forfeited Asset Sharing Program fiscal year 2017: Report of distributed funds. Richmond, VA: Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services.
- Fain, T. (2015, April 15). Virginia’s civil asset forfeiture reform effort goes down again. Daily Press.
- Livesay & Myers, P.C. (2015, October 6). Asset forfeiture in Virginia. Fredericksburg, VA: Author.
- Poggenklass, R. & Dunn, T. (2015, November 24). Virginia law enforcement, you’re going to have to face it: You’re addicted to cash. Richmond, VA: American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia.
- Poggenklass, R. (2016). Reform Virginia’s Civil Asset Forfeiture Laws to Remove the Profit Incentive and Curtail the Abuse of Power, University of Richmond Law Review 50, 75-105.
- Sisler, J. (2015, June 30). Forfeited Asset Sharing Program manual. Richmond, VA: Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services.
- Virginia State Crime Commission. (2015, October 27). Asset Forfeiture (SB 684/HB 1287): Review and recommendations. Richmond, VA: Author.