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To expropriate private property for public use without compensating the owner under the authority of the Police Power of the government. To seize property.

When property is confiscated it is transferred from private to public use, usually for reasons such as insurrection during a time of war or because the private property had been used in illegal activities. A person convicted of violating the Internal Revenue Code by carrying untaxed cigarettes may suffer the penalty of confiscation of any property used in the crime—as, for example, a truck.

Confiscation differs from Eminent Domain and condemnation in that the person from whom private property is taken is not compensated for its value at the time of confiscation.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


v. to take one's goods or property without legal right, although there may appear to be some lawful basis. In the case of a government seizing property, it may include taking without the just compensation as guaranteed by the Constitution. There are some acts of legal confiscation, such as taking an automobile used in illegal drug traffic. (See: condemnation, theft)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.


Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006
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