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32-1157. Same; notification of parties having interests in vessel; failure to reclaim; use, sale or destruction by law enforcement agency. (a) A law enforcement officer may attempt to identify the registered owner of a vessel abandoned on private property by inspection of the vessel and any trailer to which it is attached and may supply the information to the real property owner upon which vessel is presumed abandoned. The real property owner must declare by affidavit the reasons why such real property owner believes the property to be abandoned. The real property owner must give 5-days' notice to the last registered vessel owner before causing the removal of the vessel. If the last registered owner is unknown or cannot be notified, the vessel may immediately be removed to a secure location designated by a law enforcement officer.

(b) A law enforcement officer, within 48 hours after directing the removal of an abandoned vessel on a public waterway or public or private property, shall notify the department of the status of the vessel.

(c) A law enforcement officer who has custody of an abandoned vessel, if the law enforcement agency knows or can reasonably discover the name and address of the owner of the vessel or any person who holds a security interest in the vessel, shall notify the owner or the holder of the security interest of the location of the vessel and the method by which the vessel may be claimed. This notice must be sent by certified or registered mail.

(d) If the abandoned vessel is held by a law enforcement agency as evidence in the investigation or prosecution of a criminal offense, the notice required by subsection (c) shall be sent:

(1) Upon the decision of the law enforcement agency or prosecuting attorney not to pursue or prosecute the case;

(2) upon the conviction of the person who committed the offense; or

(3) if the case is otherwise terminated.

(e) Failure to reclaim the vessel within 180 days after the date the notice is mailed constitutes a waiver of interest in the vessel by any person having an interest in the vessel and the vessel shall be deemed abandoned for all purposes.

(f) If all recorded interests in a vessel are waived, as provided in subsection (e) or by written disclaimer, the department may issue a certificate of ownership to the law enforcement agency that has custody of the vessel. If necessary, the secretary may assign a hull number to the vessel. This subsection shall not preclude the subsequent return of a vessel, or any component part thereof, by a law enforcement agency to the registered owner of the vessel upon presentation by the registered owner of satisfactory proof of ownership.

(g) A law enforcement agency to which a certificate of ownership is issued pursuant to subsection (f) may use, sell or destroy the vessel and shall keep a record of the disposition of the vessel. If the law enforcement agency:

(1) Sells the vessel, all proceeds from the sale of the vessel shall become the property of the law enforcement agency.

(2) Destroys the vessel, the law enforcement agency shall, within 10 days, give notice of the destruction of the vessel to the department.

History: L. 2006, ch. 85, ยง 12; Jan. 1, 2007.


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