Asset Forfeiture Report: South Carolina


Law Grade

State Law Evasion Grade

South Carolina


Forfeiture Law
South Carolina has dreadful civil forfeiture laws.  The government can forfeit property by demonstrating mere probable cause that the property is related to a crime and subject to forfeiture.  This is the lowest standard, the same one required for a search warrant, and far lower than the beyond a reasonable doubt standard required for a criminal conviction.  South Carolina law also considers property owners to be guilty until proven innocent, placing the burden on owners to prove they had no connection to an underlying crime to get their property back.  And law enforcement keeps 95 percent of the proceeds—75 percent goes directly to the law enforcement agency and 20 percent to prosecutors.  The remaining five percent goes to the state’s general fund.  Law enforcement and prosecutors are required to use the money to fight drug offenses.  Moreover, there is no requirement that the state collect data on forfeitures, so citizens do not know how the state’s powerful civil forfeitures laws are being used.

Press Releases and News

State Press Release


From the Report: Canine Sniffs Yield Unreliable Evidence for Forfeiture




Forfeitures as Reported to LEMAS (Drug-related only)


Total Assets

Assets Forfeited per
Law Enforcement Agency














Equitable Sharing Proceeds from the Assets Forfeiture Fund (AFF)


Proceeds Returned to State

FY 2000


FY 2001


FY 2002


FY 2003


FY 2004


FY 2005


FY 2006


FY 2007


FY 2008




Average per Year



Freedom of Information Data
No Data Available; Not Required to Collect

*Learn how states were graded and how data was collected

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