Title 3, Chapter 10, Section 11
(a)(1) All apparatus or appliances which are used for the purpose
of distilling or manufacturing any distilled spirits are declared
to be contraband.
(2) No person shall have any property right in or to the
contraband specified in this subsection.
(3) Whenever apparatus or appliances used or about to be used for
the purpose of manufacturing, using, holding, or containing any
distilled spirits are found or discovered by any sheriff, deputy
sheriff, or other law enforcement officer of this state, the same
shall be summarily destroyed and rendered useless by him without
any formal order of the court.
(b)(1) All vehicles and conveyances of every kind and description
in this state and all boats and vessels of every kind and
description in any of the waters of this state, which vehicles and
vessels are used in conveying, removing, concealing, or storing
any distilled spirits, the transportation, possession, or storing
of which is in violation of law, shall be seized and condemned by
any sheriff or other arresting officer. Such vehicles,
conveyances, boats, and vessels shall be subject to seizure and
condemnation as specified in this Code section in any county or
municipality of this state, including those counties and
municipalities in which the sale of distilled spirits is lawful.
The law enforcement officer making a seizure shall report the
seizure within ten days after the seizure to the prosecuting
attorney of the county, city, or superior court having
jurisdiction in the county where the seizure was made.
(2) Within 30 days from the time the prosecuting attorney receives
the notice, he shall institute condemnation proceedings by
petition, a copy of which shall be served upon the owner or
lessee, if known, and, if the owner or lessee is unknown, notice
of the proceedings shall be published once a week for two weeks in
the newspaper in which the sheriff's advertisements are published.
(3) If at the expiration of 30 days after the filing of a petition
pursuant to paragraph (2) of this subsection no claimant has
appeared to defend against the petition, the court shall order the
disposition of the property as otherwise provided in this
(4) Should it appear upon the trial of the case that the vehicle,
conveyance, boat, or vessel was used as provided in paragraph (1)
of this subsection with the knowledge of the owner or lessee, it
shall be disposed of by order of the court after such
advertisement as the court may direct.
(5) Except as otherwise provided in this Code section, property
forfeited pursuant to this subsection shall be disposed of by
order of the court as follows:
(A) Upon application of the seizing law enforcement agency or
any other law enforcement agency of state, county, or municipal
government, the court shall permit the agency to retain the
property for official use in law enforcement work;
(B) That property which is not required to be destroyed by law
and which is not harmful to the public shall be sold. The
proceeds of such sale shall be used for payment of all proper
expenses of the forfeiture and sale, including, but not limited
to, the expenses of seizure, maintenance of custody,
advertising, and court costs. The remainder of the proceeds of
a sale of forfeited property, after the deductions authorized in
this subparagraph for proper expenses, shall be paid into the
general fund of the county in which the seizure is made.
(c) Where the owner or lessee of any property seized for purposes of
condemnation absconds or conceals himself so that actual notice of
the condemnation proceeding cannot be served upon him, he shall be
served by publication as provided for in paragraph (2) of subsection
(b) of this Code section in the case of an unknown owner or lessee.
(d)(1) All condemnation proceedings against any vehicle,
conveyance, boat, or vessel shall be proceedings in rem against
the property seized. The property shall be described only in
general terms, and it is no ground for defense that the person who
had the property in possession at the time of its illegal use and
seizure had not been convicted of such violation.
(2) Any party at interest may appear, by answer under oath, and
make defense. The owner or lessee shall be permitted to defend by
showing that the property seized, if used illegally by another,
was used without the knowledge, connivance, or consent, express or
implied, of the owner or lessee and by showing also that the
property seized, if a motor vehicle, was legally registered with
the department in the true name and address of the owner or his
predecessor in title, unless the vehicle is a new vehicle bought
from a dealer within 30 days of the time of seizure. The holder
of any bona fide lien on the property so seized shall be protected
to the full extent of his lien if the holder shows that the
illegal use of the property was without his knowledge, connivance,
or consent, express or implied.
(e) The court to whom a petition for condemnation is referred may at
its discretion allow any party at interest to give bond and take
possession of the vehicle seized. In such cases the court shall
determine whether the bond shall be a forthcoming bond or an
eventual condemnation money bond and shall also determine the amount
of the bond. The enforcement of any bond so given shall be
regulated by the general law applicable to such cases.
(f) The court may permit a settlement between the parties at any
stage of the proceeding by permitting the value of the vehicle or
the value of the equity in the vehicle, as determined by the court,
to be paid into court. Money so paid shall be distributed as
provided by law in all cases of condemnation.
(g) The agency, state, county, or municipality seizing any
contraband article may use any vessel, vehicle, aircraft, or other
conveyance described in subsection (b) of this Code section for
covert police activity for a period of up to 60 days prior to the
sale of such vessel, vehicle, aircraft, or other conveyance, except
that no vessel, vehicle, aircraft, or other conveyance shall be
utilized for covert police activity prior to final judicial
adjudication of lawful seizure.