2016 Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes
Title 42 - JUDICIARY AND JUDICIAL PROCEDURE
Chapter 68 - Forfeitures
Section 6801 - Controlled substances forfeiture

42 PA Cons Stat § 6801 (2016) What's This?
§ 6801. Controlled substances forfeiture.

(a) Forfeitures generally.--The following shall be subject to forfeiture to the Commonwealth and no property right shall exist in them:

(1) All drug paraphernalia, controlled substances or other drugs which have been manufactured, distributed, dispensed or acquired in violation of the act of April 14, 1972 (P.L.233, No.64), known as The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act.

(2) All raw materials, products and equipment of any kind which are used, or intended for use, in manufacturing, compounding, processing, delivering, importing or exporting any controlled substance or other drug in violation of The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act.

(3) All property which is used, or intended for use, as a container for property described in paragraph (1) or (2).

(4) All conveyances, including aircraft, vehicles or vessels, which are used or are intended for use to transport, or in any manner to facilitate the transportation, sale, receipt, possession or concealment of, property described in paragraph (1) or (2), except that:

(i) no conveyance used by any person as a common carrier in the transaction of business as a common carrier shall be forfeited under the provisions of this section unless it shall appear that the owner or other person in charge of such conveyance was a consenting party or privy to a violation of The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act;

(ii) no conveyance shall be forfeited under the provisions of this section by reason of any act or omission established by the owner thereof to have been committed or omitted without his knowledge or consent, which absence of knowledge or consent must be reasonable under the circumstances presented;

(iii) no bona fide security interest retained or acquired under 13 Pa.C.S. (relating to commercial code) by any merchant dealing in new or used aircraft, vehicles or vessels, or retained or acquired by any licensed or regulated finance company, bank or lending institution, or by any other business regularly engaged in the financing of, or lending on the security of, such aircraft, vehicles or vessels, shall be subject to forfeiture or impairment; and

(iv) no conveyance shall be forfeited under this section for violation of section 13(a)(31) of The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act.

(5) All books, records and research, including formulas, microfilm, tapes and data, which are used or intended for use in violation of The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act.

(6) (i) All of the following:

(A) Money, negotiable instruments, securities or other things of value furnished or intended to be furnished by any person in exchange for a controlled substance in violation of The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act, and all proceeds traceable to such an exchange.

(B) Money, negotiable instruments, securities or other things of value used or intended to be used to facilitate any violation of The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act.

(C) Real property used or intended to be used to facilitate any violation of The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act, including structures or other improvements thereon, and including any right, title and interest in the whole or any lot or tract of land and any appurtenances or improvements, which is used, or intended to be used, in any manner or part, to commit, or to facilitate the commission of, a violation of The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act, and things growing on, affixed to and found in the land.

(ii) No property shall be forfeited under this paragraph, to the extent of the interest of an owner, by reason of any act or omission established by the owner to have been committed or omitted without the knowledge or consent of that owner. Such money and negotiable instruments found in close proximity to controlled substances possessed in violation of The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act shall be rebuttably presumed to be proceeds derived from the selling of a controlled substance in violation of The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act.

(iii) No valid lien or encumbrance on real property shall be subject to forfeiture or impairment under this paragraph. A lien which is fraudulent or intended to avoid forfeiture under this section shall be invalid.

(7) Any firearms, including, but not limited to, rifles, shotguns, pistols, revolvers, machine guns, zip guns or any type of prohibited offensive weapon, as that term is defined in 18 Pa.C.S. (relating to crimes and offenses), which are used or intended for use to facilitate a violation of The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act. Such operable firearms as are found in close proximity to illegally possessed controlled substances shall be rebuttably presumed to be used or intended for use to facilitate a violation of The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act. All weapons forfeited under this section shall be immediately destroyed by the receiving law enforcement agency.

(b) Process and seizure.--Property subject to forfeiture under this chapter may be seized by the law enforcement authority upon process issued by any court of common pleas having jurisdiction over the property. Seizure without process may be made if:

(1) the seizure is incident to an arrest or a search under a search warrant or inspection under an administrative inspection warrant;

(2) the property subject to seizure has been the subject of a prior judgment in favor of the Commonwealth in a criminal injunction or forfeiture proceeding under this chapter;

(3) there is probable cause to believe that the property is dangerous to health or safety; or

(4) there is probable cause to believe that the property has been used or is intended to be used in violation of The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act.

(c) Seizure without process.--In the event seizure without process occurs, as provided herein, proceedings for the issuance thereof shall be instituted forthwith.

(d) Custody of property.--Property taken or detained under this section shall not be subject to replevin, but is deemed to be in the custody of the law enforcement authority subject only to the orders and decrees of the court of common pleas having jurisdiction over the forfeiture proceedings and of the district attorney or the Attorney General. When property is seized under this chapter, the law enforcement authority shall place the property under seal and either:

(1) remove the property to a place designated by it; or

(2) require that the district attorney or Attorney General take custody of the property and remove it to an appropriate location for disposition in accordance with law.

(e) Use of property held in custody.--Whenever property is forfeited under this chapter, the property shall be transferred to the custody of the district attorney, if the law enforcement authority seizing the property has local or county jurisdiction, or the Attorney General, if the law enforcement authority seizing the property has Statewide jurisdiction. The district attorney or the Attorney General, where appropriate, may:

(1) Retain the property for official use.

(2) Sell any forfeited property which is not required to be destroyed by law and which is not harmful to the public, but the proceeds from any such sale shall be used to pay all proper expenses of the proceedings for forfeiture and sale, including expenses of seizure, maintenance of custody, advertising and court costs. The balance of the proceeds shall be dealt with in accordance with subsections (f) and (g).

(f) Use of cash or proceeds of property.--Cash or proceeds of forfeited property transferred to the custody of the district attorney pursuant to subsection (e) shall be placed in the operating fund of the county in which the district attorney is elected. The appropriate county authority shall immediately release from the operating fund, without restriction, a like amount for the use of the district attorney enforcing the provisions of The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act. The entity having budgetary control shall not anticipate future forfeitures or proceeds therefrom in adoption and approval of the budget for the district attorney.

(g) Distribution of property among law enforcement authorities.--If both municipal and State law enforcement authorities were substantially involved in effecting the seizure, the court having jurisdiction over the forfeiture proceedings shall equitably distribute the property between the district attorney and the Attorney General.

(h) Authorization to utilize property.--The district attorney and the Attorney General shall utilize forfeited property or proceeds thereof for the purpose of enforcing the provisions of The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act. In appropriate cases, the district attorney and the Attorney General may designate proceeds from forfeited property to be utilized by community-based drug and crime-fighting programs and for relocation and protection of witnesses in criminal cases.

(i) Annual audit of forfeited property.--It shall be the responsibility of every county in this Commonwealth to provide, through the controller, board of auditors or other appropriate auditor and the district attorney, an annual audit of all forfeited property and proceeds obtained under this section. The audit shall not be made public but shall be submitted to the Office of Attorney General. The county shall report all forfeited property and proceeds obtained under this section and the disposition thereof to the Attorney General by September 30 of each year.

(j) Annual report; confidential information regarding property.--The Attorney General shall annually submit a report, to the Appropriations and Judiciary Committees of the Senate and to the Appropriations and Judiciary Committees of the House of Representatives, specifying the forfeited property or proceeds thereof obtained under this section. The report shall give an accounting of all proceeds derived from the sale of forfeited property and the use made of unsold forfeited property. The Attorney General shall adopt procedures and guidelines governing the release of information by the district attorney to protect the confidentiality of forfeited property or proceeds used in ongoing drug enforcement activities.

(k) Proceeds and appropriations.--The proceeds or future proceeds from forfeited property under this chapter shall be in addition to any appropriation made to the Office of Attorney General.

(Dec. 27, 1994, P.L.1337, No.154, eff. 60 days; July 7, 2006, P.L.342, No.71, eff. 60 days)

2006 Amendment. Act 71 amended the section heading.

1994 Amendment. Act 154 amended subsecs. (h) and (i).

Cross References. Section 6801 is referred to in section 6802 of this title.

Disclaimer: These codes may not be the most recent version. Pennsylvania may have more current or accurate information. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site or the information linked to on the state site. Please check official sources.