Civil asset forfeiture is different from most legal processes, where law enforcement officials seize property they assert has been involved in criminal activity. One need not be involved or charged with a crime in order for his or her property to be seized. In other words, in civil asset forfeiture proceedings, it’s essentially the property that is charged with the crime.
Forfeiture laws have been used historically and are intended to be used as tools to fight organized crime. When targeting criminal organizations whose sheer amount resources make them incredibly difficult to prosecute, having a legal means to seize the assets of these organizations can be helpful in weakening them. In practice, however, civil asset forfeiture laws are not always used in this way.