Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Contraband Definition:

An item the possession or production of which in itself is a crime.

Few cases can claim such a wonderful name as United States v $45,140 but that is the formal name the registry of the United States District Court of Illinois gave to this case.

It came before Justice Reinhard for decision on December 28, 1993 and he chose to include these words to define contraband:

"Contraband is generally defined as an item the possession of which is itself a crime.... Property in illegal possession of defendant constitutes contraband. Property which is unlawful to produce or possess is contraband."

In US v Pierce, Justice Robert Sack of the United States Court of Appeals adopted these words to define contraband:

"Contraband is illegal or prohibited traffic or goods or merchandise the importation, exportation, or sometimes possession of which is forbidden."


  • US v. $45,140.00 CURRENCY, 839 F. Supp. 556
  • United States v. Mahone, 537 F. 2d 922 (1976)
  • US v. Pierce, 224 F. 3d 158 (2000)

Categories & Topics:

Always looking up definitions? Save time with our search provider (modern browsers only)

If you find an error or omission in Duhaime's Law Dictionary, or if you have suggestion for a legal term, we'd love to hear from you!