2016 Tennessee Code
Title 55 - Motor and Other Vehicles
Chapter 5 - Anti-Theft Provisions
Part 2 - Motor Vehicle Chop Shop Act of 2000
§ 55-5-205. Forfeiture of property.

TN Code § 55-5-205 (2016) What's This?

(a) If the state meets its burden of proof, any tool, implement, or instrumentality used:

(1) To alter, destroy, disassemble, dismantle, or reassemble a stolen motor vehicle or stolen motor vehicle component parts;

(2) To alter, counterfeit, deface, destroy, forge, obliterate, or remove the motor vehicle identification number; or

(3) In the transportation, disposal, or sale of stolen motor vehicles or stolen motor vehicle component parts,

shall be forfeited in accordance with this part.

(b) The district attorney general in the county in which the seizure occurs shall bring an action for forfeiture in either chancery or circuit court. The forfeiture action shall be brought within sixty (60) days from the date of seizure.

(c) The clerk of the court shall give notice of the forfeiture proceedings by mailing a certified copy of the complaint in the forfeiture proceedings and instructions on how the action for forfeiture may be contested to each person whose right, title, or interest is of record.

(d) Notice of the proceedings shall be given to any other person as may appear from the facts and circumstances to have any right, title or interest in or to the property.

(e) The owner of the property, or any person claiming an ownership or security interest, may within fourteen (14) days after the certified mailing of the notice, file a verified answer to the complaint and may appear at the hearing on the action for forfeiture.

(f) The district attorney general shall prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the property was used in the commission of a violation of this part, or was possessed to facilitate the violation.

(g) Failure to carry the burden of proof shall operate as a bar to any forfeiture, and the property shall be immediately returned to the person in possession.

(h) If the state meets its burden of proof, the court may order that:

(1) The property be destroyed by the agency that seized it or by some other agency designated by the court;

(2) The property be retained for use by the seizing agency in furtherance of vehicle theft investigations; or

(3) The property be sold and the proceeds are to be used by the seizing agency for vehicle theft investigations only.

(i) Notwithstanding subsection (h), if property is forfeited pursuant to this section and a person claiming a security interest has filed an answer as required by subsection (e), the property shall be forfeited subject to the secured party's interest.

(j) If the property was seized as a result of a joint operation between two (2) or more agencies, the proceeds will be divided between all agencies.

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