Title 17, Chapter 5, Section 54
(a)(1) Except as otherwise provided in subsections (d) and (e) of
this Code section, when a law enforcement agency assumes custody
of any personal property which is the subject of a crime or has
been abandoned or is otherwise seized, a disposition of such
property shall be made in accordance with the provisions of this
Code section. When a final judgment is entered finding a
defendant guilty of the commission of a crime, any personal
property used as evidence in the trial shall be returned to the
rightful owner of the property. All personal property in the
custody of a law enforcement agency, including personal property
used as evidence in a criminal trial, which is unclaimed after a
period of 90 days following its seizure, or following the final
conviction in the case of property used as evidence, and which is
no longer needed in a criminal investigation or for evidentiary
purposes shall be subject to disposition by the law enforcement
agency. The sheriff, chief of police, or other executive officer
of a law enforcement agency shall make application to the superior
court for an order to retain, sell, or discard such property. In
the application the officer shall state each item of personal
property to be retained, sold, or discarded. Upon the superior
court's granting an order for the law enforcement agency to retain
such property, the law enforcement agency shall retain such
property for official use. Upon the superior court's granting an
order which authorizes that the property be discarded, the law
enforcement agency shall dispose of the property as other salvage
or nonserviceable equipment. Upon the superior court's granting
an order for the sale of personal property, the officer shall
provide for a notice to be placed once a week for four weeks in
the legal organ of the county specifically describing each item
and advising possible owners of items of the method of contacting
the law enforcement agency; provided, however, that miscellaneous
items having an estimated fair market value of $75.00 or less may
be advertised or sold, or both, in lots. Such notice shall also
stipulate a date, time, and place said items will be placed for
public sale if not claimed. Such notice shall also stipulate
whether said items or groups of items are to be sold in blocks, by
lot numbers, by entire list of items, or separately.
(2) Items not claimed by the owners shall be sold at a sale which
shall be conducted not less than seven nor more than 15 days after
the final advertised notice has been run. The sale shall be to
the highest bidder.
(3) If property has not been bid on in two successive sales, the
law enforcement agency may retain the property for official use or
the property will be considered as salvage and disposed of as
other county or municipal salvage or nonserviceable equipment.
(4) With respect to unclaimed perishable personal property or
animals or other wildlife, the officer may make application to the
superior court for an order authorizing the disposition of such
property prior to the expiration of 90 days.
(5) With respect to a seized motor vehicle which is not the subject of forfeiture proceedings, the law enforcement agency shall be required to contact the Georgia Crime Information Center to determine if such motor vehicle has been stolen and to follow generally the procedures of Code Section 40-11-2 to ascertain the registered owner of such vehicle.
(b) Records will be maintained showing the manner in which each item
came into possession of the law enforcement agency, a description of
the property, all efforts to locate the owner, any case or docket
number, the date of publication of any newspaper notices, and the
date on which the property was retained by the law enforcement
agency, sold, or discarded.
(c) The proceeds from the sale of personal property by the sheriff
or other county law enforcement agency pursuant to this Code section
shall be paid into the general fund of the county treasury. The
proceeds from the sale of personal property by a municipal law
enforcement agency pursuant to this Code section shall be paid into
the general fund of the municipal treasury.
(d) The provisions of this Code section shall not apply to personal
property which is the subject of forfeiture proceedings as otherwise
provided by law.
(e) The provisions of this Code section shall not apply to any property which is the subject of a disposition pursuant to Code Sections 17-5-50 through 17-5-53.
(f) The provisions of this Code section shall not apply to any
abandoned motor vehicle for which the provisions of Chapter 11 of
Title 40 are applicable.