This website is for use by legal professionals (lawyers and law practices) only. If the information is used incorrectly, you could risk losing money or your legal rights. If you are a member of the public looking for free advice about your legal problems please visit legalaid.vic.gov.au, or contact our Legal Help advice line on 1300 792 387, Monday to Friday from 8 am to 6 pm. 

If you decide to use or rely on the information or make decisions based on the information in this website (which VLA does not recommend) VLA is not liable to you or any third party in any way for any loss, damage, costs or expenses you or they may suffer or incur as a result.

Automatic forfeiture

Information about when goods including money can be confiscated permanently if they are believed to be gained throughout a crime.

If a person is convicted of some serious offences, their property may be forfeited automatically if that property is associated with the offence.

The offences, which are listed in Schedule 2 (below) include:

  • more serious drug offences such as trafficking a drug of dependence, or cultivation of a narcotic plant
  • threats to kill, or
  • obtaining financial advantage by deception.

See Confiscation Act 1997 (Vic)—Schedule 2—Offences – Automatic forfeiture and civil forfeiture(opens in a new window).

When automatic forfeiture takes place

If an order has been made for automatic forfeiture and no exclusion applies (under s 22), property is forfeited by Minister after 60 days has passed since:

  • restraining order made, or
  • person convicted for the offence.

Property can also be forfeited automatically is a declaration is made under s. 89DI of the Sentencing Act 1991, that a person is a serious drug offender.

All people who have an interest in the property seized must be notified of the decision to treat property as tainted. Notifications must conform with Confiscation Regulations.

Forfeited property may be sold by Minister. In case of automatic forfeiture, this must not be done before the end of any appeal period.

See ss. 35, 36GA—Confiscation Act 1997 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Hardship

Court may order that a sum be paid to a portion of the proceeds from forfeited property if court is satisfied that person may suffer hardship. When the court is making this decision they must not take into account the impact of the sentence given for the offence on that person. The automatic forfeiture provisions are quite separate from the sentencing provisions.

See s. 45—Confiscation Act 1997 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

More information

Legislation

Confiscation Act 1997 (Vic)

See Confiscation Act 1997 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic)

  • s. 89DI—declaration by a court that a person is a serious drug offender

See Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Reference

Department of Justice and Regulation

See Department of Justice and Regulation—Asset confiscation(opens in a new window).

Office of Public Prosecutions

See Office of Public Prosecutions—Proceeds of Crime(opens in a new window).

Updated