(a) A person claiming an interest in the property, proceeds, or instruments may, at any time within 30 days from the date of the first publication of the notice of seizure or within 30 days after receipt of actual notice, file with the superior court of the county in which the action is pending a verified claim stating his or her interest in the property, proceeds, or instruments. A verified copy of the claim shall be given by the claimant to the Attorney General or district attorney, as appropriate.
(b) (1) If, at the end of the time set forth in subdivision (a), an interested person, other than the defendant, has not filed a claim, the court, upon motion, shall declare that the person has defaulted upon his or her alleged interest and the interest shall be subject to forfeiture upon proof of the provisions of subdivision (d).
(2) The defendant may admit or deny that the property is subject to forfeiture pursuant to the provisions of this chapter. If the defendant fails to admit or deny or to file a claim of interest in the property, proceeds, or instruments, the court shall enter a response of denial on behalf of the defendant.
(c) (1) The forfeiture proceeding shall be set for hearing in the superior court in which the underlying criminal offense will be tried.
(2) If the defendant is found guilty of the underlying offense, the issue of forfeiture shall be promptly tried, either before the same jury or before a new jury in the discretion of the court, unless waived by the consent of all parties.
(d) At the forfeiture hearing, the prosecuting agency shall have the burden of establishing beyond a reasonable doubt that the property alleged in the petition comes within the provisions of Section 236.7.
(e) Unless the trier of fact finds that the seized property was used for a purpose for which forfeiture is permitted, the court shall order the seized property released to the person that the court determines is entitled to possession of that property. If the trier of fact finds that the seized property was used for a purpose for which forfeiture is permitted, but does not find that a person who has a valid interest in the property had actual knowledge that the property would be or was used for a purpose for which forfeiture is permitted and consented to that use, the court shall order the property released to the claimant.
(Added by Stats. 2012, Ch. 514, Sec. 4. (SB 1133) Effective January 1, 2013.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018