The Forfeiture Act is a new law that was passed during the 2015 Legislative session and amends portions of NMSA 1978 § 31-27-1 to 31-27-11 (2015) et. seq., known as the New Mexico Forfeiture Act. The purposes outlined in the Forfeiture Act are to make uniform standards and procedures for the process; protect people’s constitutional rights; deter criminal activity by reducing its economic incentives; increase pecuniary loss from criminal activity; protect against wrongful forfeiture; and ensure that only criminal forfeiture is allowed. The Forfeiture Act further indicates in section 31-27-7:
B. Unless possession of the property is illegal or a different disposition is specifically provided for by law and except as provided in this section, forfeited property that is not currency shall be delivered along with any abandoned property to the State Treasurer for disposition at a public auction. Forfeited currency and all sale proceeds of the sale of forfeited or abandoned property shall be deposited in the general fund.
While the program remains an unfunded mandate, the State Treasurer’s Office continues to work with law enforcement across the state to implement a program and achieve compliance.