2020 Georgia Code
Title 52 - Waters of the State, Ports, and Watercraft
Chapter 7 - Registration, Operation, and Sale of Watercraft
Article 1 - General Provisions
§ 52-7-7.3. Seizure of Vessels Without Hull Identification Numbers; Seizure of Related Property; Inspections

Universal Citation: GA Code § 52-7-7.3 (2020)
  1. If the hull identification number on a vessel required by Code Section 52-7-7.1 or 52-7-7.2 to have a hull identification number does not exist or has been altered, removed, destroyed, covered, or defaced or the real identity of the vessel cannot be determined, the vessel, and any items used while towing such vessel, may be seized as contraband by a law enforcement agency or the department and shall be subject to forfeiture in accordance with the procedures set forth in Chapter 16 of Title 9.
  2. A vessel described in subsection (a) of this Code section shall not be sold or operated on the waters of the state unless the department:
    1. Receives a request from a law enforcement agency providing adequate documentation for a replacement hull identification number; or
    2. Is directed by written order of a court of competent jurisdiction to issue to the vessel a replacement hull identification number.
  3. The failure to have the hull identification number clearly displayed in compliance with this article shall be probable cause for any law enforcement officer to make further inspection of the vessel in question to ascertain the true identity thereof.
  4. Prior to the vessel being sold or returned to the owner or otherwise disposed of, the department shall assign it a new hull identification number in accordance with federal law.

(Code 1981, §52-7-7.3, enacted by Ga. L. 2006, p. 96, § 5/HB 1490; Ga. L. 2015, p. 693, § 3-30/HB 233.)

The 2015 amendment, effective July 1, 2015, in subsection (a), substituted "such vessel, may be seized as contraband" for "said vessel, may be seized as contraband property" and added "in accordance with the procedures set forth in Chapter 16 of Title 9" at the end; redesignated the former last sentence of the introductory paragraph of subsection (a) as subsection (b); substituted "A vessel described in subsection (a) of this Code section" for "Such vessel" at the beginning of subsection (b); deleted the undesignated paragraph following paragraph (b)(2), which read: "Thereafter, the replacement HIN shall be used for identification purposes. No vessel shall be forfeited if the owner was unaware the vessel's HIN had been altered, removed, destroyed, covered, or defaced."; redesignated former subsection (b) as present subsection (c); and added subsection (d). See Editor's notes for applicability.

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 2015, p. 693, § 4-1/HB 233, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "This Act shall become effective on July 1, 2015, and shall apply to seizures of property for forfeiture that occur on or after that date. Any such seizure that occurs before July 1, 2015, shall be governed by the statute in effect at the time of such seizure."

Law reviews.

- For article on the 2015 amendment of this Code section, see 32 Ga. St. U. L. Rev. 1 (2015).

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