Title 16, Chapter 8, Section 85
(a) The following are subject to forfeiture unless obtained by
theft, fraud, or conspiracy to defraud and the rightful owner is
known or can be identified and located:
(1) Any tool;
(2) Any implement; or
(3) Any instrumentality, including, but not limited to, any motor vehicle or motor vehicle part, whether or not owned by the person from whose possession or control it was seized, which is used or possessed either in violation of Code Section 16-8-83 or to promote or facilitate a violation of Code Section 16-8-83.
(b) Any motor vehicle, other conveyance, or motor vehicle part used by any person as a common carrier is subject to forfeiture under this Code section where the owner or other person in charge of the motor vehicle, other conveyance, or motor vehicle part is a consenting party to a violation of Code Section 16-8-83.
(c)(1) Any motor vehicle, motor vehicle part, other conveyance,
tool, implement, or instrumentality is not subject to forfeiture
under this Code section by reason of any act or omission which the
owner proves to have been committed or omitted without the owner's
knowledge or consent.
(2) Seizing agencies shall utilize their best efforts to identify
any seized motor vehicle or motor vehicle part to determine
ownership or the identity of any other person having a right or
interest in a seized motor vehicle or motor vehicle part. In its
reasonable identification and owner location attempts, the seizing
agency shall cause the stolen motor vehicle files of the Georgia
Bureau of Investigation to be searched for stolen or wanted
information on motor vehicles similar to the seized motor vehicle
or consistent with the seized motor vehicle part.
(3) Where a motor vehicle part has an apparent value in excess of
(A) The seizing agency shall consult with an expert of the type specified in paragraph (4) of Code Section 16-8-82; and
(B) The seizing agency shall also request searches of the
on-line and off-line files of the National Crime Information
Center and the National Automobile Theft Bureau when the Georgia
Bureau of Investigation and Georgia Crime Information Center
files have been searched with negative results.
(d) A forfeiture of a motor vehicle, motor vehicle part, or other
conveyance encumbered by a bona fide security interest is subject to
the interest of the secured party where the secured party neither
had knowledge of nor consented to the act or omission forming the
ground for the forfeiture.
(e) Property, as described in subsection (a) of this Code section,
which is seized and held for forfeiture shall not be subject to
replevin and is subject only to the order and judgments of a court
of competent jurisdiction hearing the forfeiture proceedings.
(f)(1) A prosecutor in the county where the seizure occurs shall
bring an action for forfeiture in a court of competent
jurisdiction. The forfeiture action shall be brought within 60
days from the date of seizure except where the prosecutor in the
sound exercise of discretion determines that no forfeiture action
should be brought because of the rights of property owners,
lienholders, or secured creditors or because of exculpatory,
exonerating, or mitigating facts and circumstances.
(2) The prosecutor shall give notice of the forfeiture proceeding
by mailing a copy of the complaint in the forfeiture proceeding to
each person whose right, title, or interest is of record in the
Department of Motor Vehicle Safety, the Department of
Transportation, the Federal Aviation Agency, or any other
department or agency of this state, any other state or territory
of the United States, or of the federal government if such
property is required to be registered with any such department or
(3) Notice of the forfeiture proceeding shall be given to any
other such person as may appear, from the facts and circumstances,
to have any right, title, or interest in or to the property.
(4) The owner of the property or any person having or claiming
right, title, or interest in the property may within 60 days after
the mailing of such notice file a verified answer to the complaint
and may appear at the hearing on the action for forfeiture.
(5) The prosecutor shall show at a forfeiture hearing, by a preponderance of the evidence, that such property was used in the commission of a violation of Code Section 16-8-83 or was used or possessed to facilitate such violation.
(6) The owner of such property may show by a preponderance of the
evidence that the owner did not know, and did not have reason to
know, that the property was to be used or possessed in the
commission of any violation or that any of the exceptions to
forfeiture are applicable.
(7) Unless the prosecutor shall make the showing required of it,
the court shall order the property released to the owner. Where
the prosecutor has made such a showing, the court may order that:
(A) The property be destroyed by the agency which seized it or
some other agency designated by the court;
(B) The property be delivered and retained for use by the agency
which seized it or some other agency designated by the court; or
(C) The property be sold at public sale.
(g) A copy of a forfeiture order shall be filed with the sheriff of
the county in which the forfeiture occurs and with each federal or
state department or agency with which such property is required to
be registered. Such order, when filed, constitutes authority for the
issuance to the agency to whom the property is delivered and
retained for use or to any purchaser of the property of a
certificate of title, registration certificate, or other special
certificate as may be required by law in consideration of the
condition of the property.
(h) Proceeds from sale at public auction, after payment of all
reasonable charges and expenses incurred by the agency designated by
the court to conduct the sale in storing and selling the property,
shall be paid into the general fund of the county of seizure.
(i) No motor vehicle, either seized under Code Section 16-8-84 or forfeited under this Code section, shall be released by the seizing agency or used or sold by an agency designated by the court unless any altered, counterfeited, defaced, destroyed, disguised, falsified, forged, obliterated, or removed vehicle identification number is corrected by the issuance and affixing of either an assigned or replacement vehicle identification number plate as may be appropriate under laws or regulations of this state.
(j) No motor vehicle part having any altered, counterfeited,
defaced, destroyed, disguised, falsified, forged, obliterated, or
removed vehicle identification number may be disposed of upon
forfeiture except by destruction thereof, except that this
subsection shall not apply to any such motor vehicle part which is
assembled with and constitutes part of a motor vehicle.
(k) No motor vehicle or motor vehicle part shall be forfeited under
this Code section solely on the basis that it is unidentifiable.
Instead of forfeiture, any seized motor vehicle or motor vehicle
part which is unidentifiable shall be the subject of a written
report sent by the seizing agency to the Department of Motor Vehicle
Safety, which report shall include a description of the motor
vehicle or motor vehicle part, including its color, if any; the
date, time, and place of its seizure; the name of the person from
whose possession or control it was seized; the grounds for its
seizure; and the location where the same is held or stored.
(l) When a seized unidentifiable motor vehicle or motor vehicle part
has been held for 60 days or more after the notice to the Department
of Motor Vehicle Safety specified in subsection (k) of this Code
section has been given, the seizing agency, or its agent, shall
cause the motor vehicle or motor vehicle part to be sold at a public
sale to the highest bidder. Notice of the time and place of sale
shall be posted in a conspicuous place for at least 30 days prior to
the sale on the premises where the motor vehicle or motor vehicle
part has been stored.
(m) When a seized unidentifiable motor vehicle or motor vehicle part
has an apparent value of $1,000.00 or less, the seizing agency shall
authorize the disposal of the motor vehicle or motor vehicle part,
provided that no such disposition shall be made sooner than 60 days
after the date of seizure.
(n) The proceeds of the public sale of an unidentifiable motor
vehicle or motor vehicle part shall be deposited into the general
fund of the state, county, or municipal corporation employing the
seizing agency after deduction of any reasonable and necessary
towing and storage charges.
(o) Seizing agencies shall utilize their best efforts to arrange for
the towing and storing of motor vehicles and motor vehicle parts in
the most economical manner possible. In no event shall the owner of
a motor vehicle or a motor vehicle part be required to pay more than
the minimum reasonable costs of towing and storage.
(p) A seized motor vehicle or motor vehicle part that is neither
forfeited nor unidentifiable shall be held subject to the order of
the court in which the criminal action is pending or, if a request
for its release from such custody is made, until the prosecutor has
notified the defendant or the defendant's attorney of such request
and both the prosecution and defense have been afforded a reasonable
opportunity for an examination of the property to determine its true
value and to produce or reproduce, by photographs or other
identifying techniques, legally sufficient evidence for introduction
at trial or other criminal proceedings. Upon expiration of a
reasonable time for the completion of the examination, which in no
event shall exceed 14 days from the date of service upon the defense
of the notice of request for return of property as provided in this
subsection, the property shall be released to the person making such
request after satisfactory proof of such person's entitlement to the
possession thereof. Notwithstanding the foregoing, upon application
by either party with notice to the other, the court may order
retention of the property if it determines that retention is
necessary in the furtherance of justice.
(q) When a seized vehicle is forfeited, restored to its owner, or
disposed of as unidentifiable, the seizing agency shall retain a
report of the transaction for a period of at least one year from the
date of the transaction.
(r) When an applicant for a certificate of title or salvage
certificate of title presents to the Department of Motor Vehicle
Safety proof that the applicant purchased or acquired a motor
vehicle at public sale conducted pursuant to this Code section and
such fact is attested to by the seizing agency, the Department of
Motor Vehicle Safety shall issue a certificate of title or a salvage
certificate of title, as determined by the commissioner of motor
vehicle safety, for such motor vehicle upon receipt of the statutory
fee, a properly executed application for a certificate of title or
other certificate of ownership, and the affidavit of the seizing
agency that a state assigned number was applied for and affixed to
the motor vehicle prior to the time that the motor vehicle was
released by the seizing agency to the purchaser.