What Happens to the Proceeds from Forfeitures in Florida?
The Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act (FCFA) governs forfeitures under state law. What happens to the property after a final judgment of forfeiture is entered by the court?
Under Section 932.7055, F.S., after the court signs the final judgment of forfeiture, the agency that seized the property may do any of the following:
- retain the property for the seizing agency’s use;
- sell the property at a public auction or by sealed bid to the highest bidder; or
- salvage, trade, or transfer the property to any public or nonprofit organization.
When the seizing agency is a county or municipal law enforcement agency, the forfeiture proceeds are deposited into a special law enforcement trust fund. Under Section 932.7055(5)(a), F.S., those funds may be used to fund any of the following:
- school resource officers;
- crime prevention programs;
- safe neighborhood programs;
- drug abuse education and prevention programs; or
- defraying the cost of protracted or complex investigations;
- providing additional equipment or expertise;
- purchasing automated external defibrillators for law enforcement vehicles; and
- providing matching funds to obtain federal grants.
Section 932.7055(5), F.S., prohibits the proceeds from a forfeiture being used to meet the normal operating expenses of a law enforcement agency.
Section 932.7055(6), F.S., requires that when the seizing agency is a state agency, the proceeds from forfeitures are deposited into the General Revenue Fund.
Some agencies have a trust fund designated to receive the proceeds from a forfeiture. Those agencies with a special trust fund might include:
- the Florida Department of Law Enforcement
- a state attorney’s office
- a school board security agency that employs law enforcement officers; and
- the State University System police departments.
Attorney for Civil Asset Forfeitures in Tampa, FL
If your property was seized for forfeiture, act quickly to retain an experienced civil asset forfeiture attorney in Tampa, FL. We represent clients throughout the state. We can help you demand an adversarial preliminary hearing (APH) and filed a verified claim for court action.
We pay attention to how law enforcement agencies dispose of seized property in forfeiture actions to determine if they comply with Florida law. We also fight for the reform of civil asset forfeiture laws.
This article was last updated on Friday, May 26, 2023.