Drug asset forfeiture cases are civil lawsuits filed by the government to seize and obtain ownership of property that has been used in illegal drug-related activity. The basis for such actions dates back to laws of medieval England, when property used in the commission of a crime was itself considered criminal and subject to forfeiture to the king. The idea of drug forfeitures today is a bit more refined and is aimed at recovering the expense of drug-enforcement activities. It is an attempt to take away property that people have used to benefit from illegal drug-related criminal activity. Law enforcement officers are allowed to seize property, such as currency, vehicles, jewelry, and other items of value, from individuals when the property is found in close proximity to drugs and/or drug paraphernalia. In addition, property may be seized when it is used to transport drugs and/or drug paraphernalia or if the property is procured from drug profits. Narcotics and paraphernalia are forfeited to the State automatically and are destroyed by law enforcement.
If your property was recently seized, the Nez Perce County Prosecutor's Office will serve you with a complaint and summons. You then have twenty (20) days to file an answer to the complaint with the Nez Perce County Clerk's Office. If an answer is not filed, the Prosecutor's Office will obtain a default judgment, and the State will own the seized property.
Please do not contact the Prosecutor's Office for legal advice concerning how you should proceed in the lawsuit. If you need assistance with your case, contact a private attorney or consult Idaho’s Uniform Controlled Substance Act.
The laws on civil forfeitures are found at Idaho Code Sections 37-2744 and 37-2744A. The laws on criminal asset forfeitures are found at Idaho Code Sections 37-2801 through 37-2815.