The Constitution of the United States prohibits the deprivation of "life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." The Constitution also expressly states that private property may not be "taken" by the government without "just compensation." Seizures and forfeitures of personal and real property without notification or hearing and without compensation have, however, become a powerful tool used by the government to deter crime.
Peter D. Houtz,
The Innocent Owner Defense to Civil Forfeiture Proceedings,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/lawreview/vol31/iss1/7