The Vermont Statutes Online
The Vermont Statutes Online have been updated to include the actions of the 2023 session of the General Assembly.
NOTE: The Vermont Statutes Online is an unofficial copy of the Vermont Statutes Annotated that is provided as a convenience.
Subchapter 002 : Forfeiture(Cite as: 18 V.S.A. § 4244)
§ 4244. Forfeiture hearing
(a) Within 60 days following service of notice of seizure and forfeiture under section 4243 of this title, a claimant may file a demand for judicial determination of the forfeiture. The demand must be in the form of a civil complaint accompanied by a sworn affidavit setting forth the facts upon which the claimant intends to rely, including, if relevant, the noncriminal source of the asset or currency at issue. The demand must be filed with the court administrator in the county in which the seizure occurred.
(b) The court shall hold a hearing on the petition as soon as practicable after, and in any event no later than 90 days following, the conclusion of the criminal prosecution.
(c) A lienholder who has received notice of a forfeiture proceeding may intervene as a party. If the court finds that the lienholder has a valid, good faith interest in the subject property that is not held through a straw purchase, trust, or otherwise for the actual benefit of another and that the lienholder did not at any time have knowledge or reason to believe that the property was being or would be used in violation of the law, the court upon forfeiture shall order compensation to the lienholder to the extent of the lienholder’s interest.
(d) The court shall not order the forfeiture of property if an owner, co-owner, or person who regularly uses the property, other than the defendant, shows by a preponderance of the evidence that the owner, co-owner, or regular user did not consent to or have any express or implied knowledge that the property was being or was intended to be used in a manner that would subject the property to forfeiture, or that the owner, co-owner, or regular user had no reasonable opportunity or capacity to prevent the defendant from using the property.
(e) The proceeding shall be against the property and shall be deemed civil in nature. The State shall have the burden of proving all material facts by clear and convincing evidence.
(f) The court shall make findings of fact and conclusions of law and shall issue a final order. If the petition is granted, the court shall order the property held for evidentiary purposes, delivered to the State Treasurer, or, in the case of regulated drugs or property that is harmful to the public, destroyed. (Added 1985, No. 174 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; amended 2015, No. 53, § 6.)