Asset Forfeiture Frequently Asked Questions
- My property was seized for forfeiture. What can I do?
HRS 712A-10(4). Persons claiming an interest in the property may file either a petition for remission or mitigation of forfeiture, or a claim and cost or in pauperis bond, but not both, with the attorney general, within thirty (30) days of notice by publication or receipt of written notice, whichever is earlier.
If you were given a “Notice of Seizure for Forfeiture,” that is a notice that your property has been seized and a forfeiture action may be filed by the prosecuting attorney.
If you were given a “Petition for Administrative Forfeiture” and a “Notice of Intention to Administratively Forfeit Property,” carefully follow the instructions attached to the Notice you received.
If you read the Notice of the seized property in the State’s publication in the newspaper, follow the instructions that are set forth in the publication.
- My notice included a sample blank petition for remission or mitigation and a blank declaration in support of request to proceed in forma pauperis. Do I fill out both blank forms if I want to file a petition for remission or mitigation?
No. Do not submit the declaration in support of request to proceed in forma pauperis form if you intend to file a petition for remission or mitigation.
- My notice did not include a sample claim. Does the attorney general have a sample claim available?
No sample claim is available. Please consult an attorney of your choice or carefully follow the instructions for filing a claim that is included with your notice. The information is also available at the State’s website (insert website link) and at HRS Section 712A-10(9).
- How do I decide whether I should file a claim or petition for remission or mitigation?
Please consult an attorney.
Generally, HRS Section 712A-10 provides that a petition for remission or mitigation will be decided by the attorney general. A petition for remission or mitigation shall not be used to challenge the sufficiency of the evidence to support the forfeiture or the actions of any government official but shall presume a valid forfeiture and ask the attorney general to invoke the executive power to pardon the property, in whole or in part. A petitioner has no right to appeal the attorney general’s decision.
A claim is decided by the presiding circuit court. A claim requires a cost bond in the amount of $2500 or 10 % of the estimated value of the property, whichever is greater, with sureties to be approved by the attorney general, upon condition that if the claimant fails to prove that the claimant’s interest is exempt from forfeiture under HRS Section 712A-5, the claimant shall pay the State’s costs and expenses, including reasonable attorneys fees incurred in connection with the judicial proceeding.
In lieu of a cost bond, a claimant may file an in forma pauperis bond sworn upon oath before a notary public. (top)
- What form of payment is acceptable for the claim and cost bond?
The cost bond must be paid in the form of a cashier’s check or attorney’s trust fund check.
- Do I have to notarize my claim or petition for remission or mitigation?
Yes. In the case of a claim, both the claim and, if applicable, the in pauperis bond need to be sworn under oath before a notary public.
If you are incarcerated and a notary public is not available, please declare under penalty of perjury that the statements you have made concerning your claim (or petition for remission or mitigation) are true and correct and have your signature witnessed by an adult correctional officer or administrator. (top)
- What do I do if property that was taken by the police/listed in the police report is not included in the petition for administrative forfeiture?
The attorney general has no jurisdiction over property not named in the petition for administrative forfeiture. You will need to contact the prosecuting attorney or police/seizing agency involved in your particular case.
- What is the deadline for filing a response to a petition for administrative forfeiture?
You must file a claim or petition for remission or mitigation within 30 days of receiving written notice or publication whichever is earlier. If additional time is needed, you may request one extension of time from the attorney general within the 30 day deadline.
- When can I expect a decision on my claim?
The claim is decided by the presiding circuit court. The administrative forfeiture filed with the attorney general is suspended pending the outcome of the circuit court claim.
- When can I expect a decision on my petition for remission or mitigation?
A decision on a petition for remission or mitigation is due within sixty-days of receipt of the petition unless the circumstances of the case require additional time, in which case the attorney general shall notify the petitioner in writing and with specificity within the sixty day period that the circumstances of the case require additional time and further notify the petitioner of the expected decision date.
HRS Section 712A-10(8).