1531.20 Seizure of property or device used in unlawful taking or transporting of wild animals.

Any motor vehicle, all-terrain vehicle, or boat used in the unlawful taking or transporting of wild animals, and any net, seine, trap, ferret, gun, or other device used in the unlawful taking of wild animals, is a public nuisance. Each wildlife officer, or other officer with like authority, shall seize and safely keep such property and the illegal results of its use, and unless otherwise ordered by the chief of the division of wildlife shall initiate, within thirty days, proceedings in a proper court of the county for its forfeiture. A writ of replevin shall not lie to take the property from the officer's custody or from the custody or jurisdiction of the court in which the proceeding is initiated, nor shall the proceeding affect a criminal prosecution for the unlawful use or possession of the property.

An action for the forfeiture of any such property shall be initiated by the filing of an affidavit describing the property seized and stating the unlawful use made of it, the time and place of seizure, and the name of the person owning or using it at the time of seizure. If the name is unknown, that fact shall be stated. Upon the filing of the affidavit, the court shall issue a summons setting forth the facts stated in the affidavit and fixing a time and place for the hearing of the complaint. A copy of the summons shall be served on the owner or person using the property at the time of its seizure, if the owner or user is known, or by leaving a copy thereof at the owner's or user's usual residence or place of business in the county, at least three days before the time fixed for the hearing of the complaint. If the owner or user is unknown or a nonresident of the county or cannot be found therein, a copy of the summons shall be posted at a suitable place nearest the place of seizure, but if the owner's or user's address is known, a copy of the summons shall be mailed to the owner or user at least three days before the time fixed for the hearing of the complaint. On the date fixed for the hearing, the officer making the service shall make a return of the time and manner of making the service. Upon the proper cause shown, the court may postpone the hearing.

A proceeding for the forfeiture of seized property that is initiated under this section shall not progress to actual forfeiture of the seized property unless so ordered by the court. The court may order the actual forfeiture of the seized property as part of the sentence that it imposes if the owner or person unlawfully using the property at the time of its seizure is convicted, pleads guilty, or confesses that the property at the time of its seizure was being used by the owner or user in violation of law or division rule. Forfeited property shall be the property of the state, to be disposed of as the chief of the division of wildlife directs.

Cite as R.C. § 1531.20

History. Effective Date: 03-18-1999; 04-06-2007