7 LONG TITLE
8 General Description:
9 This bill modifies the Forfeiture and Disposition of Property Act regarding civil
10 forfeiture procedures.
11 Highlighted Provisions:
12 This bill:
13 ▸ modifies the elements of qualifying as an innocent owner regarding property subject
14 to forfeiture;
15 ▸ requires a direct nexus of the property to a specific alleged criminal exchange or
16 transaction, in order for the property to be forfeited;
17 ▸ modifies the definition of proceeds that are from an offense giving rise to a
19 ▸ requires the prosecutor to bring an action for civil forfeiture in a timely manner;
20 ▸ modifies the process for a claimant to bring an action to claim forfeited property;
21 ▸ provides that any person may assert an interest in seized property or file an answer
22 to a forfeiture complaint without posting bond;
23 ▸ provides that the hardship provisions include use of funds to allow an individual to
24 obtain a legal defense in the forfeiture proceeding or the related criminal proceeding
25 and assets of a legitimate business;
26 ▸ provides that prejudgment interest shall be awarded, in addition to the current
27 postjudgment interest;
28 ▸ removes the cap of 20% of the value of the property subject to forfeiture when
29 awarding legal costs and attorney fees;
30 ▸ modifies the obligations of a claimant regarding illegal use of the property subject to
32 ▸ provides that the proceeds from civil forfeiture actions shall be placed in the
33 Uniform School Fund, and that proceeds from criminal forfeiture actions shall
34 continue to be placed in the Criminal Forfeiture Restricted Account for use by the
35 State Asset Forfeiture Program;
36 ▸ modifies the allocation of the proceeds from asset forfeiture to provide for:
37 • victim restitution;
38 • reimbursement of direct costs by the prosecuting agency and the law
39 enforcement agencies involved in the case; and
40 • allocation of remaining proceeds to the Uniform School Fund; and
41 ▸ provides that if the defendant is acquitted of the criminal charge subsequent to the
42 civil forfeiture proceeding, the forfeited assets shall be returned and the defendant
43 shall be reimbursed for costs as listed.
44 Money Appropriated in this Bill:
46 Other Special Clauses:
48 Utah Code Sections Affected:
50 24-1-102, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2014, Chapter 112
51 24-4-102, as enacted by Laws of Utah 2013, Chapter 394
52 24-4-103, as enacted by Laws of Utah 2013, Chapter 394
53 24-4-104, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2014, Chapter 112
54 24-4-105, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2014, Chapter 112
55 24-4-107, as enacted by Laws of Utah 2013, Chapter 394
56 24-4-108, as enacted by Laws of Utah 2013, Chapter 394
57 24-4-109, as enacted by Laws of Utah 2013, Chapter 394
58 24-4-110, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2014, Chapter 112
59 24-4-115, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2014, Chapter 112
60 24-4-116, as enacted by Laws of Utah 2013, Chapter 394
61 24-4-117, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2015, Chapter 134
63 Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
64 Section 1. Section 24-1-102 is amended to read:
65 24-1-102. Definitions.
66 As used in this title:
67 (1) "Account" means the Criminal Forfeiture Restricted Account created in Section
69 (2) (a) "Acquittal" means a finding by a jury or a judge at trial that a claimant is not
71 (b) An acquittal does not include:
72 (i) a verdict of guilty on a lesser or reduced charge;
73 (ii) a plea of guilty to a lesser or reduced charge; or
74 (iii) dismissal of a charge as a result of a negotiated plea agreement.
75 (3) "Agency" means any agency of municipal, county, or state government, including
76 law enforcement agencies, law enforcement personnel, and multijurisdictional task forces.
77 (4) "Claimant" means any:
78 (a) owner of property as defined in this section;
79 (b) interest holder as defined in this section; or
80 (c) person or entity who asserts a claim to any property seized for forfeiture under this
82 (5) "Commission" means the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice.
83 (6) "Complaint" means a civil in rem complaint seeking the forfeiture of any real or
84 personal property under this title.
85 (7) "Constructive seizure" means a seizure of property where the property is left in the
86 control of the owner and the seizing agency posts the property with a notice of intent to seek
88 (8) (a) "Contraband" means any property, item, or substance that is unlawful to
89 produce or to possess under state or federal law.
90 (b) All controlled substances that are possessed, transferred, distributed, or offered for
91 distribution in violation of Title 58, Chapter 37, Utah Controlled Substances Act, are
93 (9) "Innocent owner" means a claimant who:
94 (a) (i) held an ownership interest in property at the time the conduct subjecting the
95 property to forfeiture occurred[
100 (ii) did not give permission for the conduct or participate in the conduct;
101 (iii) did not directly commit the offense; and
102 (iv) did not solicit, request, command, encourage, or intentionally aid another person to
103 engage in the conduct; or
104 (b) (i) acquired an ownership interest in the property and who had no knowledge that
105 the illegal conduct subjecting the property to forfeiture had occurred or that the property had
106 been seized for forfeiture[
109 property through probate or inheritance; or
111 marriage or by operation of law.
112 (10) (a) "Interest holder" means a secured party as defined in Section 70A-9a-102, a
113 mortgagee, lien creditor, or the beneficiary of a security interest or encumbrance pertaining to
114 an interest in property, whose interest would be perfected against a good faith purchaser for
116 (b) "Interest holder" does not mean a person who holds property for the benefit of or as
117 an agent or nominee for another person, or who is not in substantial compliance with any
118 statute requiring an interest in property to be recorded or reflected in public records in order to
119 perfect the interest against a good faith purchaser for value.
120 (11) "Known address" means any address provided by a claimant to the agency at the
121 time the property was seized, or the claimant's most recent address on record with a
122 governmental entity if no address was provided at the time of the seizure.
123 (12) "Legal costs" means the costs and expenses incurred by a party in a forfeiture
125 (13) "Legislative body" means:
126 (a) (i) the Legislature, county commission, county council, city commission, city
127 council, or town council that has fiscal oversight and budgetary approval authority over an
128 agency; or
129 (ii) the agency's governing political subdivision; or
130 (b) the lead governmental entity of a multijurisdictional task force, as designated in a
131 memorandum of understanding executed by the agencies participating in the task force.
132 (14) "Multijurisdictional task force" means a law enforcement task force or other
133 agency comprised of persons who are employed by or acting under the authority of different
134 governmental entities, including federal, state, county or municipal governments, or any
135 combination of these agencies.
136 (15) "Owner" means any person or entity, other than an interest holder, that possesses a
137 bona fide legal or equitable interest in real or personal property.
138 (16) [
148 (a) property of any kind that is:
149 (i) obtained directly as a result of the commission of an offense that gives rise to
150 forfeiture; and
151 (ii) limited to only that portion of property that is obtained directly as a result of the
152 commission of the offense giving rise to the forfeiture; and
153 (b) cash received from the direct sale of, and property received from the direct transfer
154 of, property described in Subsection (16)(a).
155 (17) "Program" means the State Asset Forfeiture Grant Program established in Section
157 (18) "Property" means all property, whether real or personal, tangible or intangible, but
158 does not include contraband.
159 (19) "Prosecuting attorney" means:
160 (a) the attorney general and any assistant attorney general;
161 (b) any district attorney or deputy district attorney;
162 (c) any county attorney or assistant county attorney; and
163 (d) any other attorney authorized to commence an action on behalf of the state under
164 this title.
165 (20) "Public interest use" means a:
166 (a) use by a government agency as determined by the legislative body of the agency's
167 jurisdiction; or
168 (b) donation of the property to a nonprofit charity registered with the state.
169 (21) "Real property" means land and includes any building, fixture, improvement,
170 appurtenance, structure, or other development that is affixed permanently to land.
171 Section 2. Section 24-4-102 is amended to read:
172 24-4-102. Property subject to forfeiture.
173 (1) Except as provided in Subsection (3), all property that has been used to directly
174 facilitate the commission of a federal or state criminal offense and any direct proceeds of
175 criminal activity may be forfeited under this chapter, including:
176 (a) real property, including things growing on, affixed to, and found in land; and
177 (b) tangible and intangible personal property, including money, rights, privileges,
178 interests, claims, and securities of any kind.
179 (2) If the property is used to facilitate a violation of Section 76-10-1204, 76-10-1205,
180 76-10-1206, or 76-10-1222, the property subject to forfeiture under this section is limited to
181 property, the seizure or forfeiture of which would not constitute a prior restraint on the exercise
182 of an affected party's rights under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States
183 or Utah Constitution, Article I, Section 15, or would not otherwise unlawfully interfere with the
184 exercise of those rights.
185 (3) A motor vehicle used in a violation of Section 41-6a-502, 41-6a-517, a local
186 ordinance that complies with the requirements of Subsection 41-6a-510(1), Subsection
187 58-37-8(2)(g), or Section 76-5-207 may not be forfeited unless:
188 (a) the operator of the vehicle has previously been convicted of a violation, committed
189 after May 12, 2009, of:
190 (i) a felony driving under the influence violation under Section 41-6a-502;
191 (ii) a felony violation under Subsection 58-37-8(2)(g); or
192 (iii) automobile homicide under Section 76-5-207; or
193 (b) the operator of the vehicle was driving on a denied, suspended, revoked, or
194 disqualified license; and
195 (i) the denial, suspension, revocation, or disqualification under Subsection (3)(b)(ii)
196 was imposed because of a violation under:
197 (A) Section 41-6a-502;
198 (B) Section 41-6a-517;
199 (C) a local ordinance that complies with the requirements of Subsection 41-6a-510(1);
200 (D) Section 41-6a-520;
201 (E) Subsection 58-37-8(2)(g);
202 (F) Section 76-5-207; or
203 (G) a criminal prohibition that the person was charged with violating as a result of a
204 plea bargain after having been originally charged with violating one or more of the sections or
205 ordinances described in Subsections (3)(b)(i)(A) through (F); or
206 (ii) the denial, suspension, revocation, or disqualification described in Subsections
207 (3)(b)(i)(A) through (G):
208 (A) is an extension imposed under Subsection 53-3-220(2) of a denial, suspension,
209 revocation, or disqualification; and
210 (B) the original denial, suspension, revocation, or disqualification was imposed
211 because of a violation described in Subsections (3)(b)(i)(A) through (G).
212 Section 3. Section 24-4-103 is amended to read:
213 24-4-103. Initiating forfeiture proceedings -- Notice of intent to seek forfeiture.
214 (1) (a) Within 30 days from the date that property is seized, an agency seeking to forfeit
215 property shall serve a notice of intent to seek forfeiture upon any claimants known to the
217 (b) The notice of intent to seek forfeiture shall describe with particularity the:
218 (i) date of the seizure;
219 (ii) property seized;
220 (iii) alleged relationship of the seized property to the conduct giving rise to forfeiture;
222 of hardship relief in appropriate circumstances; and
224 property may be forfeited under this chapter.
225 (c) The notice of intent to seek forfeiture shall be served by:
226 (i) certified mail, return receipt requested, to the claimant's known address; or
227 (ii) personal service.
228 (d) The court may void any forfeiture made without notice under Subsection (1)(a),
229 unless the agency demonstrates:
230 (i) good cause for the failure to give notice to the claimant; or
231 (ii) that the claimant had actual notice of the seizure.
232 (2) (a) Once the agency has served each claimant with a notice of intent to seek
233 forfeiture, but no later than 60 days from the date that property is seized, the agency shall
234 present a written request for forfeiture to the prosecuting attorney.
235 (b) The written request shall:
236 (i) describe the property to be forfeited; and
237 (ii) include a copy of all reports, supporting documents, and other evidence necessary
238 for the prosecuting attorney to determine the legal sufficiency for filing a forfeiture action.
239 Section 4. Section 24-4-104 is amended to read:
240 24-4-104. Civil forfeiture procedure.
241 (1) (a) [
242 prosecuting attorney may take no further action to effect the forfeiture of the property, unless
243 within [
244 (i) files a criminal forfeiture indictment or information under Subsection 24-4-105(2);
245 (ii) obtains a restraining order under Subsection 24-4-105(3);
246 (iii) files a petition under Subsection 24-4-114(1); or
247 (iv) files a civil forfeiture complaint.
274 (b) The prosecutor shall take all reasonable steps to ensure a forfeiture proceeding
275 initiated under this section is concluded in a timely manner.
277 forfeiture, [
278 seized property or file an answer to a complaint for civil forfeiture without posting bond with
279 respect to the property that is the subject of the seizure or forfeiture action.
283 governed by the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure.
285 proceedings and shall give these proceedings the same priority as is given to criminal cases.
287 property, the burden of proof is on the prosecuting attorney to establish by clear and convincing
288 evidence the extent to which, if any, the property is subject to forfeiture.
290 posting bond with respect to the property subject to forfeiture.
291 Section 5. Section 24-4-105 is amended to read:
292 24-4-105. Criminal forfeiture procedure.
293 (1) If a claimant is criminally prosecuted for conduct giving rise to the forfeiture, the
294 prosecuting attorney may elect to seek forfeiture of the claimant's interest in the property
295 through the criminal case.
296 (2) If the prosecuting attorney elects to seek forfeiture of the claimant's interest in the
297 property through the criminal case, the information or indictment shall state that the claimant's
298 interest in the property is subject to forfeiture and the basis for the forfeiture.
299 (3) (a) Upon application of the prosecuting attorney, the court may enter restraining
300 orders or injunctions, or take other reasonable actions to preserve for forfeiture under this
301 section, any property subject to forfeiture if, after notice to known claimants and claimants who
302 can be identified after due diligence and who are known to have an interest in the property, and
303 after affording those persons an opportunity for a hearing, the court determines that:
304 (i) there is a substantial probability that the state will prevail on the issue of forfeiture
305 and that failure to enter the order will result in the property being sold, transferred, destroyed,
306 or removed from the jurisdiction of the court or otherwise made unavailable for forfeiture; and
307 (ii) the need to preserve the availability of the property or prevent its sale, transfer,
308 destruction, or removal through the entry of the requested order outweighs the hardship against
309 any party against whom the order is to be entered.
310 (b) A temporary restraining order may be entered ex parte upon application of the
311 prosecuting attorney before or after an information or indictment has been filed with respect to
312 the property, if the prosecuting attorney demonstrates that:
313 (i) there is probable cause to believe that the property with respect to which the order is
314 sought would, in the event of a conviction, be subject to forfeiture under this section; and
315 (ii) provision of notice would jeopardize the availability of the property for forfeiture
316 or would jeopardize an ongoing criminal investigation.
317 (c) The temporary order expires not more than 10 days after entry unless extended for
318 good cause shown or unless the party against whom it is entered consents to an extension.
319 (d) After service of the temporary order upon any claimants known to the prosecuting
320 attorney, a hearing concerning the order entered under this section shall be held as soon as
321 practicable and prior to the expiration of the temporary order.
322 (e) The court is not bound by the Utah Rules of Evidence regarding evidence it may
323 receive and consider at any hearing under this section.
324 (4) (a) Upon conviction of a claimant for conduct giving rise to criminal forfeiture, the
325 prosecutor shall ask the finder of fact to make a specific finding as to whether the property or
326 any part of it is subject to forfeiture.
327 (b) A determination of whether property is subject to forfeiture under this section shall
328 be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
329 (5) (a) Upon conviction of a claimant for violating any provision of state law
330 subjecting a claimant's property to forfeiture and a finding by the trier of fact that the property
331 is subject to forfeiture, the court shall enter a judgment and order the property forfeited to the
332 state upon the terms stated by the court in its order.
333 (b) Following the entry of an order declaring property forfeited, the court may, upon
334 application of the prosecuting attorney, enter appropriate restraining orders or injunctions,
335 require the execution of satisfactory performance bonds, appoint receivers, conservators,
336 appraisers, accountants, or trustees, or take any other action to protect the interest of the state in
337 property ordered forfeited.
338 (6) (a) (i) After property is ordered forfeited under this section, the seizing agency shall
339 direct the disposition of the property under Section 24-4-115.
340 (ii) Any property right or interest under this Subsection (6)(a) not exercisable by or
341 transferable for value to the state expires and does not revert to the defendant.
342 (iii) The defendant or any person acting in concert with or on behalf of the defendant is
343 not eligible to purchase forfeited property at any sale held by the seizing agency unless
344 approved by the judge.
345 (b) The court may stay the sale or disposition of the property pending the conclusion of
346 any appeal of the criminal case giving rise to the forfeiture if the defendant demonstrates that
347 proceeding with the sale or disposition of the property may result in irreparable injury, harm, or
349 (7) [
350 asserting an interest in property subject to forfeiture under this section:
351 (a) may [
352 property under this section; and
353 (b) may [
354 party's alleged interests in the property subsequent to the filing of an indictment or an
355 information alleging that the property is subject to forfeiture under this section.
356 (8) The district court that has jurisdiction of a case under this part may enter orders
357 under this section without regard to the location of any property that may be subject to
358 forfeiture under this section or that has been ordered forfeited under this section.
359 (9) To facilitate the identification or location of property declared forfeited and to
360 facilitate the disposition of petitions for remission or mitigation of forfeiture after the entry of
361 an order declaring property forfeited to the state, the court may, upon application of the
362 prosecuting attorney, order that the testimony of any witness relating to the forfeited property
363 be taken by deposition, and that any book, paper, document, record, recording, or other
364 material shall be produced as provided for depositions and discovery under the Utah Rules of
365 Civil Procedure.
366 (10) (a) (i) Following the entry of an order of forfeiture under this section, the
367 prosecuting attorney shall publish notice of the order's intent to dispose of the property by
368 publication. Service by publication shall be by publication of two notices, in two successive
369 weeks, of the forfeiture proceeding:
370 (A) in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the seizure occurred;
372 (B) on Utah's Public Legal Notice Website established in Subsection 45-1-101(2)(b).
373 (ii) The prosecuting attorney shall also send written notice to any claimants, other than
374 the defendant, known to the prosecuting attorney to have an interest in the property, at the
375 claimant's known address.
376 (b) (i) Any claimant, other than the defendant, asserting a legal interest in property that
377 has been ordered forfeited to the state under this section may, within 30 days after the notice
378 has been published or the claimant receives the written notice under Subsection (10)(a),
379 whichever is earlier, petition the court for a hearing to adjudicate the validity of the claimant's
380 alleged interest in the property.
381 (ii) Any genuine issue of material fact, including issues of standing, may be tried to a
382 jury upon demand of any party.
383 (c) The petition shall:
384 (i) be in writing and signed by the claimant under penalty of perjury;
385 (ii) set forth the nature and extent of the claimant's right, title, or interest in the
386 property, the time and circumstances of the claimant's acquisition of the right, title, or interest
387 in the property; and
388 (iii) set forth any additional facts supporting the claimant's claim and the relief sought.
389 (d) The trial or hearing on the petition shall be expedited to the extent practicable. The
390 court may consolidate a trial or hearing on the petition and any petition filed by any claimant
391 other than the defendant under this section. The court shall permit the parties to conduct
392 pretrial discovery pursuant to the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure.
393 (e) (i) At the trial or hearing, the claimant may testify and present evidence and
394 witnesses on the claimant's own behalf and cross-examine witnesses who appear at the hearing.
395 The prosecuting attorney may present evidence and witnesses in rebuttal and in defense of the
396 claim to the property and cross-examine witnesses who appear.
397 (ii) In addition to testimony and evidence presented at the trial or hearing, the court
398 may consider the relevant portion of the record of the criminal case that resulted in the order of
400 (iii) Any trial or hearing shall be conducted pursuant to the Utah Rules of Evidence.
401 (f) The court shall amend the order of forfeiture in accordance with its determination, if
402 after the trial or hearing, the court or jury determines that the petitioner has established by a
403 preponderance of the evidence that:
404 (i) the claimant has a legal right, title, or interest in the property, and the right, title, or
405 interest renders the order of forfeiture invalid in whole or in part because the right, title, or
406 interest was vested in the claimant rather than the defendant or was superior to any right, title,
407 or interest of the defendant at the time of the commission of the acts or conduct that gave rise
408 to the forfeiture of the property under this section; or
409 (ii) the claimant acquired the right, title, or interest in the property in a bona fide
410 transaction for value, and, at the time of acquisition, the claimant did not know that the
411 property was subject to forfeiture.
412 (g) Following the court's disposition of all petitions filed under this Subsection (10), or
413 if no petitions are filed following the expiration of the period provided in Subsection (10)(b)
414 for the filing of petitions, the state has clear title to property subject to the order of forfeiture
415 and may warrant good title to any subsequent purchaser or transferee.
416 Section 6. Section 24-4-107 is amended to read:
417 24-4-107. Innocent owners.
418 (1) An innocent owner's interest in property may not be forfeited under any provision
419 of state law.
420 (2) In a forfeiture proceeding under this chapter, the prosecuting attorney has the
421 burden of [
423 (a) is responsible for the conduct giving rise to the forfeiture, subject to Subsection (4);
424 (b) knew of the conduct giving rise to the forfeiture, and allowed the property to be
425 used in furtherance of the conduct, subject to Subsection (4);
426 (c) acquired the property with notice of its actual or constructive seizure for forfeiture
427 under this chapter;
428 (d) acquired the property knowing the property was subject to forfeiture under this
429 chapter; or
430 (e) acquired the property in an effort to conceal, prevent, hinder, or delay its lawful
431 seizure or forfeiture under any provision of state law.
432 (3) [
433 under this section to take steps to prevent illegal use or criminal activity regarding the seized
434 property [
437 conduct giving rise to forfeiture or did not allow the property to be used in the furtherance of
438 the conduct by providing evidence that the claimant took reasonable action to prohibit the
439 illegal use of the property by:
441 led the claimant to know that conduct subjecting the property to seizure would occur, was
442 occurring, or has occurred;
444 regarding those engaging in the illegal conduct; or
448 innocent owner, and if the claimant is criminally charged with the conduct giving rise to the
449 forfeiture and is acquitted of that charge on the merits:
450 (a) the property subject to the forfeiture or the open market value of the property, if the
451 property has been disposed of under Subsection 24-4-108(13), shall be returned to the
452 claimant; [
453 (b) any payments required under this chapter regarding holding the property shall be
454 paid to the claimant[
455 (c) interest on the fair market value of all forfeited property or proceeds; and
456 (d) court costs and reasonable attorney fees incurred in defending against the civil
457 forfeiture action.
469 Section 7. Section 24-4-108 is amended to read:
470 24-4-108. Release of property held for forfeiture on certain grounds.
471 (1) After the seizing agency gives notice that the property is to be held for forfeiture, a
472 person or entity may not alienate, convey, sequester, or attach that property until the court
473 issues a final order of dismissal or an order of forfeiture regarding the property.
474 (2) The seizing agency or the prosecuting attorney may authorize the release of
475 property held for forfeiture to a claimant if retention of actual custody is unnecessary.
476 (3) With the consent of a court of competent jurisdiction, the prosecuting attorney may
477 discontinue forfeiture proceedings and transfer the action to another state or federal agency that
478 has initiated forfeiture proceedings involving the same property.
479 (4) Property held for forfeiture is considered to be in the custody of the district court
480 and subject only to:
481 (a) the orders and decrees of the court having jurisdiction over the property or the
482 forfeiture proceedings; and
483 (b) the acts of the agency that possesses the property or the prosecuting attorney
484 pursuant to this chapter.
485 (5) (a) A claimant may obtain release of property held for forfeiture by posting with the
486 district court a surety bond or cash in an amount equal to the current fair market value of the
487 property as determined by the court or by the parties' stipulation.
488 (b) The district court may refuse to order the release of the property if:
489 (i) the bond tendered is inadequate;
490 (ii) the property is contraband or is retained as evidence; or
491 (iii) the property is particularly altered or designed for use in conduct giving cause for
493 (c) If a surety bond or cash is posted and the court later determines that the property is
494 subject to forfeiture, the court shall order the forfeiture of the surety bond or cash in lieu of the
496 (6) A claimant is entitled to the immediate release of property held for forfeiture
497 pending the final determination of forfeiture if:
498 (a) the claimant had a possessory interest in the property at the time of seizure;
499 (b) continued possession by the agency or the state pending the final disposition of the
500 forfeiture proceedings will cause substantial hardship to the claimant, such as:
501 (i) preventing the functioning of a legitimate business;
502 (ii) preventing any individual from working;
503 (iii) preventing any child from attending elementary or secondary school;
504 (iv) preventing or hindering any person from receiving necessary medical care;
505 (v) hindering the care of an elderly or disabled dependent child or adult;
506 (vi) leaving any individual homeless; [
507 (vii) preventing a claimant from retaining counsel to provide a defense in the forfeiture
508 proceeding or related criminal proceeding; or
510 (c) the hardship from the continued possession of the property by the agency outweighs
511 the risk that the property will be destroyed, damaged, lost, concealed, or transferred if it is
512 returned to the claimant during the pendency of the proceeding; and
513 (d) determination of substantial hardship under this Subsection (6) is based upon the
514 property's use prior to the seizure.
515 (7) After the seizing agency gives notice that the property is to be held for forfeiture, a
516 claimant may file a motion for hardship release:
517 (a) in the court in which forfeiture proceedings have commenced; or
518 (b) in any district court having jurisdiction over the property, if forfeiture proceedings
519 have not yet commenced.
520 (8) The motion for hardship release shall also be served upon the prosecuting attorney
521 or the seizing agency within 10 days after filing the motion.
522 (9) The court shall render a decision on a motion for hardship filed under this section
523 not later than 20 days after the date of filing, or 10 days after service upon the prosecuting
524 attorney or seizing agency, whichever is earlier, unless this period is extended by the agreement
525 of both parties or by the court for good cause shown.
526 (10) (a) If the claimant demonstrates substantial hardship pursuant to this section, the
527 court shall order the property immediately released to the claimant pending completion of
528 proceedings by the government to obtain forfeiture of the property.
529 (b) The court may place conditions on release of the property as it finds necessary and
530 appropriate to preserve the availability of the property or its equivalent for forfeiture.
531 (11) The hardship release under this section does not apply to:
532 (a) contraband;
533 (b) currency or other monetary instrument or electronic funds[
534 (i) are used to pay for the reasonable costs of defending against the forfeiture
535 proceedings or related criminal proceedings; or
536 (ii) constitute the assets of a legitimate business; or
537 (c) property that is likely to be used to commit additional illegal acts if returned to the
539 (12) (a) The court may order property that is held for forfeiture to be sold, as allowed
540 by Subsection (13), leased, rented, or operated to satisfy a specified interest of any claimant, or
541 to preserve the interests of any party on motion of that party.
542 (b) The court may enter orders under Subsection (12)(a) after written notice to persons
543 known to have an interest in the property, and after an opportunity for a hearing.
544 (13) (a) A sale may be ordered under Subsection (12) when the property is liable to
545 perish, waste, or be significantly reduced in value, or when the expenses of maintaining the
546 property are disproportionate to its value.
547 (b) A third party designated by the court shall dispose of the property by commercially
548 reasonable public sale and distribute the proceeds in the following order of priority:
549 (i) first, for the payment of reasonable expenses incurred in connection with the sale;
550 (ii) second, for the satisfaction of any interests, including those of interest holders, in
551 the order of their priority as determined by Title 70A, Uniform Commercial Code; and
552 (iii) third, any balance of the proceeds shall be preserved in the actual or constructive
553 custody of the court, in an interest-bearing account, subject to further proceedings under this
555 Section 8. Section 24-4-109 is amended to read:
556 24-4-109. Prejudgment and postjudgment interest.
557 In any proceeding to forfeit currency or other negotiable instruments under this chapter,
558 the court shall award a prevailing [
559 the currency or negotiable instruments at the interest rate established under Section 15-1-4.
560 Section 9. Section 24-4-110 is amended to read:
561 24-4-110. Attorney fees and costs.
562 (1) In any forfeiture proceeding under this chapter, the court shall award a prevailing
564 (a) legal costs; and
565 (b) attorney fees.
569 reasonable legal costs and attorney fees only on those issues on which the party prevailed, as
570 determined by the court.
571 Section 10. Section 24-4-115 is amended to read:
572 24-4-115. Disposition and allocation of forfeiture property from civil and
573 criminal forfeiture actions.
574 (1) Upon finding that property is subject to forfeiture under this chapter, the court shall
575 order the property forfeited to the state.
576 (2) (a) If the property is not currency, the seizing agency shall authorize a public or
577 otherwise commercially reasonable sale of that property that is not required by law to be
578 destroyed and that is not harmful to the public.
579 (b) If the property forfeited is an alcoholic product as defined in Section 32B-1-102, it
580 shall be disposed of as follows:
581 (i) an alcoholic product shall be sold if the alcoholic product is:
582 (A) unadulterated, pure, and free from any crude, unrectified, or impure form of ethylic
583 alcohol, or any other deleterious substance or liquid; and
584 (B) otherwise in saleable condition; or
585 (ii) an alcoholic product and its package shall be destroyed if the alcoholic product is
586 impure, adulterated, or otherwise unfit for sale.
587 (c) If the property forfeited is a cigarette or other tobacco product as defined in Section
588 59-14-102, it shall be destroyed, except that prior to the destruction of any cigarette or other
589 tobacco product seized pursuant to this part, the lawful holder of the trademark rights in the
590 cigarette or tobacco product brand shall be permitted to inspect the cigarette.
591 (d) The proceeds of the sale of forfeited property shall remain segregated from other
592 property, equipment, or assets of the seizing agency until transferred to the state in accordance
593 with this chapter.
594 (3) From the forfeited property, both currency and the proceeds or revenue from the
595 sale of the property, the seizing agency shall:
596 (a) deduct the seizing agency's direct costs and expenses of obtaining and maintaining
597 the property pending forfeiture; and
598 (b) pay the office of the prosecuting attorney the legal costs associated with the
599 litigation of the forfeiture proceeding, and up to 20% of the value of the forfeited property in
600 attorney fees.
601 (4) If the forfeiture arises from any violation relating to wildlife resources, the
602 remaining currency and the proceeds or revenue from the sale of the property shall be deposited
603 in the Wildlife Resources Account created in Section 23-14-13.
604 (5) The remaining currency and the proceeds or revenue from the sale of the property
605 shall then be transferred:
606 (a) to the Uniform School Fund if the proceeds are from a civil forfeiture proceeding
607 under this chapter; and
608 (b) to the commission and deposited into the [
609 Account, if the proceeds are from a criminal forfeiture proceeding under this chapter.
610 Section 11. Section 24-4-116 is amended to read:
611 24-4-116. Criminal Forfeiture Restricted Account.
612 (1) There is created within the General Fund a restricted account known as the
613 "Criminal Forfeiture Restricted Account."
614 (2) Proceeds from [
617 (3) Money in the account shall be appropriated to the commission for implementing the
618 program under Section 24-4-117.
619 Section 12. Section 24-4-117 is amended to read:
620 24-4-117. State Asset Forfeiture Grant Program.
621 (1) There is created the State Asset Forfeiture Grant Program.
622 (2) The program shall fund crime prevention, crime victim reparations, and law
623 enforcement activities that have the purpose of:
624 (a) deterring crime by depriving criminals of the profits and proceeds of their illegal
626 (b) weakening criminal enterprises by removing the instrumentalities of crime;
627 (c) reducing crimes involving substance abuse by supporting the creation,
628 administration, or operation of drug court programs throughout the state;
629 (d) encouraging cooperation between local, state, and multijurisdictional law
630 enforcement agencies;
631 (e) allowing the costs and expenses of law enforcement to be defrayed by the forfeited
632 proceeds of crime;
633 (f) increasing the equitability and accountability of the use of forfeited property used to
634 assist law enforcement in reducing and preventing crime; and
635 (g) providing aid to victims of criminally injurious conduct, as defined in Section
636 63M-7-502, who may be eligible for assistance under Title 63M, Chapter 7, Part 5, Utah Office
637 for Victims of Crime.
638 (3) [
639 upon appropriation the commission shall allocate and administer grants to state agencies, local
640 law enforcement agencies, multijurisdictional law enforcement agencies, or political
641 subdivisions of the state in compliance with this section and to further the program purposes
642 under Subsection (2).
644 account to pay for administrative costs incurred by the commission, including salary and
645 benefits, equipment, supplies, or travel costs that are directly related to the administration of
646 the program.
648 by completing and submitting forms specified by the commission.
650 award takes into consideration the:
651 (a) demonstrated needs of the agency;
652 (b) demonstrated ability of the agency to appropriately use the award;
653 (c) degree to which the agency's need is offset through the agency's participation in
654 federal equitable sharing or through other federal and state grant programs; and
655 (d) agency's cooperation with other state and local agencies and task forces.
656 (7) The program shall pay restitution and costs under Section 24-4-107 regarding
657 defendants who are acquitted of the nexus criminal charge.
659 all reporting and policy requirements applicable under this chapter and under Title 63M,
660 Chapter 7, Criminal Justice and Substance Abuse, in order to qualify as a potential award
663 approval by the agency's legislative body.
664 (b) The award money is nonlapsing.
666 law enforcement agency, or political subdivision shall use awards only for law enforcement
667 purposes as described in this section or for victim reparations as described in Subsection (2)(g),
668 and only as these purposes are specified by the agency or political subdivision in its application
669 for the award.
672 (a) controlled substance interdiction and enforcement activities;
673 (b) drug court programs;
674 (c) activities calculated to enhance future law enforcement investigations;
675 (d) law enforcement training that includes:
676 (i) implementation of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and
677 Utah Constitution, Article I, Section 7, and that addresses the protection of the individual's
678 right of due process;
679 (ii) protection of the rights of innocent property holders; and
680 (iii) the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution regarding states'
681 sovereignty and the states' reserved rights;
682 (e) law enforcement or detention facilities;
683 (f) law enforcement operations or equipment that are not routine costs or operational
685 (g) drug, gang, or crime prevention education programs that are sponsored in whole or
686 in part by the law enforcement agency or its legislative body;
687 (h) matching funds for other state or federal law enforcement grants; and
688 (i) the payment of legal costs, attorney fees, and postjudgment interest in forfeiture
691 used include:
692 (a) payment of salaries, retirement benefits, or bonuses to any person;
693 (b) payment of expenses not related to law enforcement;
694 (c) uses not specified in the agency's award application;
695 (d) uses not approved by the agency's legislative body;
696 (e) payments, transfers, or pass-through funding to entities other than law enforcement
697 agencies; or
698 (f) uses, payments, or expenses that are not within the scope of the agency's functions.