Texas Code of Criminal Procedure - CRIM P Art. 59.06. Disposition of Forfeited Property




(a) Except as provided by Subsection (k), all forfeited property shall be administered by the attorney representing the state, acting as the agent of the state, in accordance with accepted accounting practices and with the provisions of any local agreement entered into between the attorney representing the state and law enforcement agencies.  If a local agreement has not been executed, the property shall be sold on the 75th day after the date of the final judgment of forfeiture at public auction under the direction of the county sheriff, after notice of public auction as provided by law for other sheriff's sales.  The proceeds of the sale shall be distributed as follows:

(1) to any interest holder to the extent of the interest holder's nonforfeitable interest;

(2) after any distributions under Subdivision (1), if the Title IV-D agency has filed a child support lien in the forfeiture proceeding, to the Title IV-D agency in an amount not to exceed the amount of child support arrearages identified in the lien;  and

(3) the balance, if any, after the deduction of court costs to which a district court clerk is entitled under Article 59.05(f) and, after that deduction, the deduction of storage and disposal costs, to be deposited not later than the 30th day after the date of the sale in the state treasury to the credit of the general revenue fund.

(b) If a local agreement exists between the attorney representing the state and law enforcement agencies, the attorney representing the state may transfer the property to law enforcement agencies to maintain, repair, use, and operate the property for official purposes if the property is free of any interest of an interest holder.  The agency receiving the forfeited property may purchase the interest of an interest holder so that the property can be released for use by the agency.  The agency receiving the forfeited property may maintain, repair, use, and operate the property with money appropriated for current operations.  If the property is a motor vehicle subject to registration under the motor vehicle registration laws of this state, the agency receiving the forfeited vehicle is considered to be the purchaser and the certificate of title shall issue to the agency.  A law enforcement agency to which property is transferred under this subsection at any time may transfer or loan the property to any other municipal or county agency, a groundwater conservation district governed by Chapter 36, Water Code, or a school district for the use of that agency or district.  A municipal or county agency, a groundwater conservation district, or a school district to which a law enforcement agency loans a motor vehicle under this subsection shall maintain any automobile insurance coverage for the vehicle that is required by law.

(b-1) If a loan is made by a sheriff's office or by a municipal police department, the commissioners court of the county in which the sheriff has jurisdiction or the governing body of the municipality in which the department has jurisdiction, as applicable, may revoke the loan at any time by notifying the receiving agency or district, by mail, that the receiving agency or district must return the loaned vehicle to the loaning agency before the seventh day after the date the receiving agency or district receives the notice.

(b-2) An agency that loans property under this article shall:

(1) keep a record of the loan, including the name of the agency or district to which the vehicle was loaned, the fair market value of the vehicle, and where the receiving agency or district will use the vehicle;  and

(2) update the record when the information relating to the vehicle changes.

(c) If a local agreement exists between the attorney representing the state and law enforcement agencies, all money, securities, negotiable instruments, stocks or bonds, or things of value, or proceeds from the sale of those items, shall be deposited, after the deduction of court costs to which a district court clerk is entitled under Article 59.05(f), according to the terms of the agreement into one or more of the following funds:

(1) a special fund in the county treasury for the benefit of the office of the attorney representing the state, to be used by the attorney solely for the official purposes of his office;

(2) a special fund in the municipal treasury if distributed to a municipal law enforcement agency, to be used solely for law enforcement purposes;

(3) a special fund in the county treasury if distributed to a county law enforcement agency, to be used solely for law enforcement purposes;  or

(4) a special fund in the state law enforcement agency if distributed to a state law enforcement agency, to be used solely for law enforcement purposes.

(c-1) Notwithstanding Subsection (a), the attorney representing the state and special rangers of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association who meet the requirements of Article 2.125 may enter into a local agreement that allows the attorney representing the state to transfer proceeds from the sale of forfeited property described by Subsection (c), after the deduction of court costs as described by that subsection, to a special fund established for the special rangers.  Proceeds transferred under this subsection must be used by the special rangers solely for law enforcement purposes.  Any expenditures of the proceeds are subject to the audit provisions established under this article.

(c-2) Any postjudgment interest from money, securities, negotiable instruments, stocks or bonds, or things of value, or proceeds from the sale of those items, that are deposited in an interest-bearing bank account under Subsection (c) shall be used for the same purpose as the principal.

(c-3) Notwithstanding Subsection (a), with respect to forfeited property seized in connection with a violation of Chapter 481, Health and Safety Code (Texas Controlled Substances Act), by a peace officer employed by the Department of Public Safety, in a proceeding under Article 59.05 in which a default judgment is rendered in favor of the state, the attorney representing the state shall enter into a local agreement with the department that allows the attorney representing the state either to:

(1) transfer forfeited property to the department to maintain, repair, use, and operate for official purposes in the manner provided by Subsection (b);  or

(2) allocate proceeds from the sale of forfeited property described by Subsection (c), after the deduction of court costs as described by that subsection, in the following proportions:

(A) 40 percent to a special fund in the department to be used solely for law enforcement purposes;

(B) 30 percent to a special fund in the county treasury for the benefit of the office of the attorney representing the state, to be used by the attorney solely for the official purposes of the attorney's office;  and

(C) 30 percent to the general revenue fund.

(c-4) Notwithstanding Subsections (a) and (c-3), with respect to forfeited property seized in connection with a violation of Chapter 481, Health and Safety Code (Texas Controlled Substances Act), by the Department of Public Safety concurrently with any other law enforcement agency, in a proceeding under Article 59.05 in which a default judgment is rendered in favor of the state, the attorney representing the state may allocate property or proceeds in accordance with a memorandum of understanding between the law enforcement agencies and the attorney representing the state.

(d) Proceeds awarded under this chapter to a law enforcement agency or to the attorney representing the state may be spent by the agency or the attorney after a budget for the expenditure of the proceeds has been submitted to the commissioners court or governing body of the municipality.  The budget must be detailed and clearly list and define the categories of expenditures, but may not list details that would endanger the security of an investigation or prosecution.  Expenditures are subject to the audit and enforcement provisions established under this chapter.  A commissioners court or governing body of a municipality may not use the existence of an award to offset or decrease total salaries, expenses, and allowances that the agency or the attorney receives from the commissioners court or governing body at or after the time the proceeds are awarded.

(d-1) The head of a law enforcement agency or an attorney representing the state may not use proceeds or property received under this chapter to:

(1) contribute to a political campaign;

(2) make a donation to any entity, except as provided by Subsection (d-2);

(3) pay expenses related to the training or education of any member of the judiciary;

(4) pay any travel expenses related to attendance at training or education seminars if the expenses violate generally applicable restrictions established by the commissioners court or governing body of the municipality, as applicable;

(5) purchase alcoholic beverages;

(6) make any expenditure not approved by the commissioners court or governing body of the municipality, as applicable, if the head of a law enforcement agency or attorney representing the state holds an elective office and:

(A) the deadline for filing an application for a place on the ballot as a candidate for reelection to that office in the general primary election has passed and the person did not file an application for a place on that ballot;  or

(B) during the person's current term of office, the person was a candidate in a primary, general, or runoff election for reelection to that office and was not the prevailing candidate in that election;  or

(7) increase a salary, expense, or allowance for an employee of the law enforcement agency or attorney representing the state who is budgeted by the commissioners court or governing body of the municipality unless the commissioners court or governing body first approves the increase.

(d-2) The head of a law enforcement agency or an attorney representing the state may use as an official purpose of the agency or attorney proceeds or property received under this chapter to make a donation to an entity that assists in:

(1) the detection, investigation, or prosecution of:

(A) criminal offenses;  or

(B) instances of abuse, as defined by Section 261.001, Family Code;

(2) the provision of:

(A) mental health, drug, or rehabilitation services;  or

(B) services for victims or witnesses of criminal offenses or instances of abuse described by Subdivision (1);  or

(3) the provision of training or education related to duties or services described by Subdivision (1) or (2).

(d-3) Except as otherwise provided by this article, an expenditure of proceeds or property received under this chapter is considered to be for a law enforcement purpose if the expenditure is made for an activity of a law enforcement agency that relates to the criminal and civil enforcement of the laws of this state, including an expenditure made for:

(1) equipment, including vehicles, computers, firearms, protective body armor, furniture, software, uniforms, and maintenance equipment;

(2) supplies, including office supplies, mobile phone and data account fees for employees, and Internet services;

(3) investigative and training-related travel expenses, including payment for hotel rooms, airfare, meals, rental of and fuel for a motor vehicle, and parking;

(4) conferences and training expenses, including fees and materials;

(5) investigative costs, including payments to informants and lab expenses;

(6) crime prevention and treatment programs;

(7) facility costs, including building purchase, lease payments, remodeling and renovating, maintenance, and utilities;

(8) witness-related costs, including travel and security;  and

(9) audit costs and fees, including audit preparation and professional fees.

(d-4) Except as otherwise provided by this article, an expenditure of proceeds or property received under this chapter is considered to be for an official purpose of an attorney's office if the expenditure is made for an activity of an attorney or office of an attorney representing the state that relates to the preservation, enforcement, or administration of the laws of this state, including an expenditure made for:

(1) equipment, including vehicles, computers, visual aid equipment for litigation, firearms, body armor, furniture, software, and uniforms;

(2) supplies, including office supplies, legal library supplies and access fees, mobile phone and data account fees for employees, and Internet services;

(3) prosecution and training-related travel expenses, including payment for hotel rooms, airfare, meals, rental of and fuel for a motor vehicle, and parking;

(4) conferences and training expenses, including fees and materials;

(5) investigative costs, including payments to informants and lab expenses;

(6) crime prevention and treatment programs;

(7) facility costs, including building purchase, lease payments, remodeling and renovating, maintenance, and utilities;

(8) legal fees, including court costs, witness fees, and related costs, including travel and security, audit costs, and professional fees;  and

(9) state bar and legal association dues.

(e) On the sale of contraband under this article, the appropriate state agency shall issue a certificate of title to the recipient if a certificate of title is required for the property by other law.

(f) A final judgment of forfeiture under this chapter perfects the title of the state to the property as of the date that the contraband was seized or the date the forfeiture action was filed, whichever occurred first, except that if the property forfeited is real property, the title is perfected as of the date a notice of lis pendens is filed on the property.

(g)(1) All law enforcement agencies and attorneys representing the state who receive proceeds or property under this chapter shall account for the seizure, forfeiture, receipt, and specific expenditure of all the proceeds and property in an audit, which is to be performed annually by the commissioners court or governing body of a municipality, as appropriate.  The annual period of the audit for a law enforcement agency is the fiscal year of the appropriate county or municipality and the annual period for an attorney representing the state is the state fiscal year.  The audit must be completed on a form provided by the attorney general and must include a detailed report and explanation of all expenditures, including salaries and overtime pay, officer training, investigative equipment and supplies, and other items.  Certified copies of the audit shall be delivered by the law enforcement agency or attorney representing the state to the attorney general not later than the 60th day after the date on which the annual period that is the subject of the audit ends.

(2) If a copy of the audit is not delivered to the attorney general within the period required by Subdivision (1), within five days after the end of the period the attorney general shall notify the law enforcement agency or the attorney representing the state of that fact.  On a showing of good cause, the attorney general may grant an extension permitting the agency or attorney to deliver a copy of the audit after the period required by Subdivision (1) and before the 76th day after the date on which the annual period that is the subject of the audit ends.  If the law enforcement agency or the attorney representing the state fails to establish good cause for not delivering the copy of the audit within the period required by Subdivision (1) or fails to deliver a copy of an audit within the extension period, the attorney general shall notify the comptroller of that fact.

(3) On notice under Subdivision (2), the comptroller shall perform the audit otherwise required by Subdivision (1).  At the conclusion of the audit, the comptroller shall forward a copy of the audit to the attorney general.  The law enforcement agency or attorney representing the state is liable to the comptroller for the costs of the comptroller in performing the audit.

(h) As a specific exception to the requirement of Subdivisions (1)-(3) of Subsection (c) of this article that the funds described by those subdivisions be used only for the official purposes of the attorney representing the state or for law enforcement purposes, on agreement between the attorney representing the state or the head of a law enforcement agency and the governing body of a political subdivision, the attorney representing the state or the head of the law enforcement agency shall comply with the request of the governing body to deposit not more than a total of 10 percent of the gross amount credited to the attorney's or agency's fund into the treasury of the political subdivision.  The governing body of the political subdivision shall, by ordinance, order, or resolution, use funds received under this subsection for:

(1) nonprofit programs for the prevention of drug abuse;

(2) nonprofit chemical dependency treatment facilities licensed under Chapter 464, Health and Safety Code;

(3) nonprofit drug and alcohol rehabilitation or prevention programs administered or staffed by professionals designated as qualified and credentialed by the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse;  or

(4) financial assistance as described by Subsection (o).

(i) The governing body of a political subdivision may not use funds received under this subchapter for programs or facilities listed under Subsections (h)(1)-(3) if an officer of or member of the Board of Directors of the entity providing the program or facility is related to a member of the governing body, the attorney representing the state, or the head of the law enforcement agency within the third degree by consanguinity or the second degree by affinity.

(j) As a specific exception to Subdivision (4) of Subsection (c) of this article, the director of a state law enforcement agency may use not more than 10 percent of the amount credited to the special fund of the agency under that subdivision for the prevention of drug abuse and the treatment of persons with drug-related problems.

(k)(1) The attorney for the state shall transfer all forfeited property that is income from, or acquired with the income from, a movie, book, magazine article, tape recording, phonographic record, radio or television presentation, telephone service, electronic media format, including an Internet website, or live entertainment in which a crime is reenacted to the attorney general.

(2) The attorney for the state shall transfer to the attorney general all income from the sale of tangible property the value of which is increased by the notoriety gained from the conviction of an offense by the person accused or convicted of the crime, minus the deduction authorized by this subdivision.  The attorney for the state shall determine the fair market value of property that is substantially similar to the property that was sold but that has not been increased in value by notoriety and deduct that amount from the proceeds of the sale.  After transferring income to the attorney general, the attorney for the state shall transfer the remainder of the proceeds of the sale to the owner of the property.  The attorney for the state, the attorney general, or a person who may be entitled to claim money from the escrow account described by Subdivision (3) in satisfaction of a claim may at any time bring an action to enjoin the waste of income described by this subdivision.

(3) The attorney general shall deposit the money or proceeds from the sale of the property into an escrow account.  The money in the account is available to satisfy a judgment against the person who committed the crime in favor of a victim of the crime if the judgment is for damages incurred by the victim caused by the commission of the crime.  The attorney general shall transfer the money in the account that has not been ordered paid to a victim in satisfaction of a judgment to the compensation to victims of crime fund on the fifth anniversary of the date the account was established.  In this subsection, “victim” has the meaning assigned by Article 56.32.

(l) A law enforcement agency that, or an attorney representing the state who, does not receive proceeds or property under this chapter during an annual period as described by Subsection (g) shall, not later than the 30th day after the date on which the annual period ends, report to the attorney general that the agency or attorney, as appropriate, did not receive proceeds or property under this chapter during the annual period.

(m) As a specific exception to Subdivisions (1)-(3) of Subsection (c), a law enforcement agency or attorney representing the state may use proceeds received under this chapter to contract with a person or entity to prepare an audit as required by Subsection (g).

(n) As a specific exception to Subsection (c)(2) or (3), a local law enforcement agency may transfer not more than a total of 10 percent of the gross amount credited to the agency's fund to a separate special fund in the treasury of the political subdivision.  The agency shall administer the separate special fund, and expenditures from the fund are at the sole discretion of the agency and may be used only for financial assistance as described by Subsection (o).

(o) The governing body of a political subdivision or a local law enforcement agency may provide financial assistance under Subsection (h)(4) or (n) only to a person who is a Texas resident, who plans to enroll or is enrolled at an institution of higher education in an undergraduate degree or certificate program in a field related to law enforcement, and who plans to return to that locality to work for the political subdivision or the agency in a field related to law enforcement.  To ensure the promotion of a law enforcement purpose of the political subdivision or the agency, the governing body of the political subdivision or the agency shall impose other reasonable criteria related to the provision of this financial assistance, including a requirement that a recipient of the financial assistance work for a certain period of time for the political subdivision or the agency in a field related to law enforcement and including a requirement that the recipient sign an agreement to perform that work for that period of time.  In this subsection, “institution of higher education” has the meaning assigned by Section 61.003, Education Code.

(p) Notwithstanding Subsection (a), and to the extent necessary to protect the commission's ability to recover amounts wrongfully obtained by the owner of the property and associated damages and penalties to which the commission may otherwise be entitled by law, the attorney representing the state shall transfer to the Health and Human Services Commission all forfeited property defined as contraband under Article 59.01(2)(B)(vi).  If the forfeited property consists of property other than money or negotiable instruments, the attorney representing the state may, if approved by the commission, sell the property and deliver to the commission the proceeds from the sale, minus costs attributable to the sale.  The sale must be conducted in a manner that is reasonably expected to result in receiving the fair market value for the property.

(q)(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this article, a multicounty drug task force, or a county or municipality participating in the task force, that is not established in accordance with Section 362.004, Local Government Code, or that fails to comply with the policies and procedures established by the Department of Public Safety under that section, and that participates in the seizure of contraband shall forward to the comptroller all proceeds received by the task force from the forfeiture of the contraband.  The comptroller shall deposit the proceeds in the state treasury to the credit of the general revenue fund.

(2) The attorney general shall ensure the enforcement of Subdivision (1) by filing any necessary legal proceedings in the county in which the contraband is forfeited or in Travis County.

(r) As a specific exception to Subsection (c)(2), (3), or (4), a law enforcement agency may transfer not more than 10 percent of the gross amount credited to the agency's fund to a separate special fund established in the treasury of the political subdivision or maintained by the state law enforcement agency, as applicable.  The law enforcement agency shall administer the separate special fund.  Interest received from the investment of money in the fund shall be credited to the fund.  The agency may use money in the fund only to provide scholarships to children of peace officers who were employed by the agency or by another law enforcement agency with which the agency has overlapping geographic jurisdiction and who were killed in the line of duty.  Scholarships under this subsection may be used only to pay the costs of attendance at an institution of higher education or private or independent institution of higher education, including tuition and fees and costs for housing, books, supplies, transportation, and other related personal expenses.  In this subsection, “institution of higher education” and “private or independent institution of higher education” have the meanings assigned by Section 61.003, Education Code.

(s) Not later than April 30 of each year, the attorney general shall develop a report based on information submitted by law enforcement agencies and attorneys representing the state under Subsection (g) detailing the total amount of funds forfeited, or credited after the sale of forfeited property, in this state in the preceding calendar year.  The attorney general shall maintain in a prominent location on the attorney general's publicly accessible Internet website a link to the most recent annual report developed under this subsection.


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