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The Florida Statutes

The 2014 Florida Statutes

Title XLVII
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE AND CORRECTIONS
Chapter 932
PROVISIONS SUPPLEMENTAL TO CRIMINAL PROCEDURE LAW
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F.S. 932.703
932.703 Forfeiture of contraband article; exceptions.
(1)(a) Any contraband article, vessel, motor vehicle, aircraft, other personal property, or real property used in violation of any provision of the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act, or in, upon, or by means of which any violation of the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act has taken or is taking place, may be seized and shall be forfeited subject to the provisions of the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act.
(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act, except the provisions of paragraph (a), contraband articles set forth in s. 932.701(2)(a)7. used in violation of any provision of the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act, or in, upon, or by means of which any violation of the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act has taken or is taking place, shall be seized and shall be forfeited subject to the provisions of the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act.
(c) All rights to, interest in, and title to contraband articles used in violation of s. 932.702 shall immediately vest in the seizing law enforcement agency upon seizure.
(d) The seizing agency may not use the seized property for any purpose until the rights to, interest in, and title to the seized property are perfected in accordance with the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act. This section does not prohibit use or operation necessary for reasonable maintenance of seized property. Reasonable efforts shall be made to maintain seized property in such a manner as to minimize loss of value.
(2)(a) Personal property may be seized at the time of the violation or subsequent to the violation, if the person entitled to notice is notified at the time of the seizure or by certified mail, return receipt requested, that there is a right to an adversarial preliminary hearing after the seizure to determine whether probable cause exists to believe that such property has been or is being used in violation of the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act. Seizing agencies shall make a diligent effort to notify the person entitled to notice of the seizure. Notice provided by certified mail must be mailed within 5 working days after the seizure and must state that a person entitled to notice may request an adversarial preliminary hearing within 15 days after receiving such notice. When a postseizure, adversarial preliminary hearing as provided in this section is desired, a request must be made in writing by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the seizing agency. The seizing agency shall set and notice the hearing, which must be held within 10 days after the request is received or as soon as practicable thereafter.
(b) Real property may not be seized or restrained, other than by lis pendens, subsequent to a violation of the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act until the persons entitled to notice are afforded the opportunity to attend the preseizure adversarial preliminary hearing. A lis pendens may be obtained by any method authorized by law. Notice of the adversarial preliminary hearing shall be by certified mail, return receipt requested. The purpose of the adversarial preliminary hearing is to determine whether probable cause exists to believe that such property has been used in violation of the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act. The seizing agency shall make a diligent effort to notify any person entitled to notice of the seizure. The preseizure adversarial preliminary hearing provided herein shall be held within 10 days of the filing of the lis pendens or as soon as practicable.
(c) When an adversarial preliminary hearing is held, the court shall review the verified affidavit and any other supporting documents and take any testimony to determine whether there is probable cause to believe that the property was used, is being used, was attempted to be used, or was intended to be used in violation of the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act. If probable cause is established, the court shall authorize the seizure or continued seizure of the subject contraband. A copy of the findings of the court shall be provided to any person entitled to notice.
(d) If the court determines that probable cause exists to believe that such property was used in violation of the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act, the court shall order the property restrained by the least restrictive means to protect against disposal, waste, or continued illegal use of such property pending disposition of the forfeiture proceeding. The court may order the claimant to post a bond or other adequate security equivalent to the value of the property.
(3) Neither replevin nor any other action to recover any interest in such property shall be maintained in any court, except as provided in this act; however, such action may be maintained if forfeiture proceedings are not initiated within 45 days after the date of seizure. However, if good cause is shown, the court may extend the aforementioned prohibition to 60 days.
(4) In any incident in which possession of any contraband article defined in s. 932.701(2)(a) constitutes a felony, the vessel, motor vehicle, aircraft, other personal property, or real property in or on which such contraband article is located at the time of seizure shall be contraband subject to forfeiture. It shall be presumed in the manner provided in s. 90.302(2) that the vessel, motor vehicle, aircraft, other personal property, or real property in which or on which such contraband article is located at the time of seizure is being used or was attempted or intended to be used in a manner to facilitate the transportation, carriage, conveyance, concealment, receipt, possession, purchase, sale, barter, exchange, or giving away of a contraband article defined in s. 932.701(2).
(5) The court shall order the forfeiture of any other property of a claimant, excluding lienholders, up to the value of any property subject to forfeiture under this section if any of the property described in this section:
(a) Cannot be located;
(b) Has been transferred to, sold to, or deposited with, a third party;
(c) Has been placed beyond the jurisdiction of the court;
(d) Has been substantially diminished in value by any act or omission of the person in possession of the property; or
(e) Has been commingled with any property which cannot be divided without difficulty.
(6)(a) Property may not be forfeited under the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act unless the seizing agency establishes by a preponderance of the evidence that the owner either knew, or should have known after a reasonable inquiry, that the property was being employed or was likely to be employed in criminal activity.
(b) A bona fide lienholder’s interest that has been perfected in the manner prescribed by law prior to the seizure may not be forfeited under the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act unless the seizing agency establishes by a preponderance of the evidence that the lienholder had actual knowledge, at the time the lien was made, that the property was being employed or was likely to be employed in criminal activity. If a lienholder’s interest is not subject to forfeiture under the requirements of this section, such interest shall be preserved by the court by ordering the lienholder’s interest to be paid as provided in s. 932.7055.
(c) Property titled or registered between husband and wife jointly by the use of the conjunctives “and,” “and/or,” or “or,” in the manner prescribed by law prior to the seizure, may not be forfeited under the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act unless the seizing agency establishes by a preponderance of the evidence that the coowner either knew or had reason to know, after reasonable inquiry, that such property was employed or was likely to be employed in criminal activity.
(d) A vehicle that is rented or leased from a company engaged in the business of renting or leasing vehicles, which vehicle was rented or leased in the manner prescribed by law prior to the seizure, may not be forfeited under the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act, and no fine, penalty, or administrative charge, other than reasonable and customary charges for towing and storage, shall be imposed by any governmental agency on the company which rented or leased the vehicle, unless the seizing agency establishes by preponderance of the evidence that the renter or lessor had actual knowledge, at the time the vehicle was rented or leased, that the vehicle was being employed or was likely to be employed in criminal activity. When a vehicle that is rented or leased from a company engaged in the business of renting or leasing vehicles is seized under the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act, upon learning the address or phone number of the company, the seizing law enforcement agency shall, as soon as practicable, inform the company that the vehicle has been seized and is available for the company to take possession upon payment of the reasonable and customary charges for towing and storage.
(7) Any interest in, title to, or right to property titled or registered jointly by the use of the conjunctives “and,” “and/or,” or “or” held by a coowner, other than property held jointly between husband and wife, may not be forfeited unless the seizing agency establishes by a preponderance of the evidence that the coowner either knew, or had reason to know, after reasonable inquiry, that the property was employed or was likely to be employed in criminal activity. When the interests of each culpable coowner are forfeited, any remaining coowners shall be afforded the opportunity to purchase the forfeited interest in, title to, or right to the property from the seizing law enforcement agency. If any remaining coowner does not purchase such interest, the seizing agency may hold the property in coownership, sell its interest in the property, liquidate its interest in the property, or dispose of its interest in the property in any other reasonable manner.
(8) It is an affirmative defense to a forfeiture proceeding that the nexus between the property sought to be forfeited and the commission of any underlying violation was incidental or entirely accidental. The value of the property sought to be forfeited in proportion to any other factors must not be considered in any determination as to this affirmative defense.
History.s. 3, ch. 74-385; s. 3, ch. 80-68; s. 496, ch. 81-259; s. 1, ch. 85-316; s. 3, ch. 89-148; s. 3, ch. 92-54; s. 3, ch. 95-265; s. 32, ch. 96-247; s. 3, ch. 99-234; ss. 70, 71, ch. 99-248; s. 6, ch. 2004-39; s. 31, ch. 2004-344.
Note.Former s. 943.43.