CAL. HSC. CODE § 11488.4 : California Code - Section 11488.4

Search CAL. HSC. CODE § 11488.4 : California Code - Section 11488.4

(a) Except as provided in subdivision (j), if the Department of Justice or the local governmental entity determines that the factual circumstances do warrant that the moneys, negotiable instruments, securities, or other things of value seized or subject to forfeiture come within the provisions of subdivisions (a) to (g), inclusive, of Section 11470, and are not automatically made forfeitable or subject to court order of forfeiture or destruction by another provision of this chapter, the Attorney General or district attorney shall file a petition of forfeiture with the superior court of the county in which the defendant has been charged with the underlying criminal offense or in which the property subject to forfeiture has been seized or, if no seizure has occurred, in the county in which the property subject to forfeiture is located. If the petition alleges that real property is forfeitable, the prosecuting attorney shall cause a lis pendens to be recorded in the office of the county recorder of each county in which the real property is located.

A petition of forfeiture under this subdivision shall be filed as soon as practicable, but in any case within one year of the seizure of the property which is subject to forfeiture, or as soon as practicable, but in any case within one year of the filing by the Attorney General or district attorney of a lis pendens or other process against the property, whichever is earlier.

(b) Physical seizure of assets shall not be necessary in order to have that particular asset alleged to be forfeitable in a petition under this section. The prosecuting attorney may seek protective orders for any asset pursuant to Section 11492.

(c) The Attorney General or district attorney shall make service of process regarding this petition upon every individual designated in a receipt issued for the property seized. In addition, the Attorney General or district attorney shall cause a notice of the seizure, if any, and of the intended forfeiture proceeding, as well as a notice stating that any interested party may file a verified claim with the superior court of the county in which the property was seized or if the property was not seized, a notice of the initiation of forfeiture proceedings with respect to any interest in the property seized or subject to forfeiture, to be served by personal delivery or by registered mail upon any person who has an interest in the seized property or property subject to forfeiture other than persons designated in a receipt issued for the property seized. Whenever a notice is delivered pursuant to this section, it shall be accompanied by a claim form as described in Section 11488.5 and directions for the filing and service of a claim.

(d) An investigation shall be made by the law enforcement agency as to any claimant to a vehicle, boat, or airplane whose right, title, interest, or lien is of record in the Department of Motor Vehicles or appropriate federal agency. If the law enforcement agency finds that any person, other than the registered owner, is the legal owner thereof, and such ownership did not arise subsequent to the date and time of arrest or notification of the forfeiture proceedings or seizure of the vehicle, boat, or airplane, it shall forthwith send a notice to the legal owner at his or her address appearing on the records of the Department of Motor Vehicles or appropriate federal agency.

(e) When a forfeiture action is filed, the notices shall be published once a week for three successive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the seizure was made or where the property subject to forfeiture is located.

(f) All notices shall set forth the time within which a claim of interest in the property seized or subject to forfeiture is required to be filed pursuant to Section 11488.5.

(g) Nothing contained in this chapter shall preclude a person, other than a defendant, claiming an interest in property actually seized from moving for a return of property if that person can show standing by proving an interest in the property not assigned subsequent to the seizure or filing of the forfeiture petition.

(h) If there is an underlying or related criminal action, a defendant may move for the return of the property on the grounds that there is not probable cause to believe that the property is forfeitable pursuant to subdivisions (a) to (g), inclusive, of Section 11470 and is not automatically made forfeitable or subject to court order of forfeiture or destruction by another provision of this chapter. The motion may be made prior to, during, or subsequent to the preliminary examination. If made subsequent to the preliminary examination, the Attorney General or district attorney may submit the record of the preliminary hearing to establish that probable cause exists to believe that the underlying or related criminal violations have occurred.

Within 15 days after a defendant's motion is granted, the people may file a petition for a writ of mandate or prohibition seeking appellate review of the ruling.

(i) (1) With respect to property described in subdivisions (e) and (g) of Section 11470 for which forfeiture is sought and as to which forfeiture is contested, the state or local governmental entity shall have the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the property for which forfeiture is sought was used, or intended to be used, to facilitate a violation of one of the offenses enumerated in subdivision (f) or (g) of Section 11470.

(2) In the case of property described in subdivision (f) of Section 11470, except cash, negotiable instruments, or other cash equivalents of a value of not less than twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000), for which forfeiture is sought and as to which forfeiture is contested, the state or local governmental entity shall have the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the property for which forfeiture is sought meets the criteria for forfeiture described in subdivision (f) of Section 11470.

(3) In the case of property described in paragraphs (1) and (2), a judgment of forfeiture requires as a condition precedent thereto, that a defendant be convicted in an underlying or related criminal action of an offense specified in subdivision (f) or (g) of Section 11470 which offense occurred within five years of the seizure of the property subject to forfeiture or within five years of the notification of intention to seek forfeiture. If the defendant is found guilty of the underlying or related criminal offense, the issue of forfeiture shall be tried before the same jury, if the trial was by jury, or tried before the same court, if trial was by court, unless waived by all parties. The issue of forfeiture shall be bifurcated from the criminal trial and tried after conviction unless waived by all the parties.

(4) In the case of property described in subdivision (f) of Section 11470 that is cash or negotiable instruments of a value of not less than twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000), the state or local governmental entity shall have the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that the property for which forfeiture is sought is such as is described in subdivision (f) of Section 11470. There is no requirement for forfeiture thereof that a criminal conviction be obtained in an underlying or related criminal offense.

(5) If there is an underlying or related criminal action, and a criminal conviction is required before a judgment of forfeiture may be entered, the issue of forfeiture shall be tried in conjunction therewith. Trial shall be by jury unless waived by all parties. If there is no underlying or related criminal action, the presiding judge of the superior court shall assign the action brought pursuant to this chapter for trial.

(j) The Attorney General or the district attorney of the county in which property is subject to forfeiture under Section 11470 may, pursuant to this subdivision, order forfeiture of personal property not exceeding twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) in value. The Attorney General or district attorney shall provide notice of proceedings under this subdivision pursuant to subdivisions (c), (d), (e), and (f), including:

(1) A description of the property.

(2) The appraised value of the property.

(3) The date and place of seizure or location of any property not seized but subject to forfeiture.

(4) The violation of law alleged with respect to forfeiture of the property.

(5) The instructions for filing and serving a claim with the Attorney General or the district attorney pursuant to Section 11488.5 and time limits for filing a claim and claim form.

If no claims are timely filed, the Attorney General or the district attorney shall prepare a written declaration of forfeiture of the subject property to the state and dispose of the property in accordance with Section 11489. A written declaration of forfeiture signed by the Attorney General or district attorney under this subdivision shall be deemed to provide good and sufficient title to the forfeited property. The prosecuting agency ordering forfeiture pursuant to this subdivision shall provide a copy of the declaration of forfeiture to any person listed in the receipt given at the time of seizure and to any person personally served notice of the forfeiture proceedings.

If a claim is timely filed, then the Attorney General or district attorney shall file a petition of forfeiture pursuant to this section within 30 days of the receipt of the claim. The petition of forfeiture shall then proceed pursuant to other provisions of this chapter, except that no additional notice need be given and no additional claim need be filed.

(k) If in any underlying or related criminal action or proceeding, in which a petition for forfeiture has been filed pursuant to this section, and a criminal conviction is required before a judgment of forfeiture may be entered, the defendant willfully fails to appear as required, there shall be no requirement of a criminal conviction as a prerequisite to forfeiture. In these cases, forfeiture shall be ordered as against the defendant and judgment entered upon default, upon application of the state or local governmental entity. In its application for default, the state or local governmental entity shall be required to give notice to the defendant's attorney of record, if any, in the underlying or related criminal action, and to make a showing of due diligence to locate the defendant. In moving for a default judgment pursuant to this subdivision, the state or local governmental entity shall be required to establish a prima facie case in support of its petition for forfeiture.