Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Key: (1) language to be deleted (2) new language

  

                         Laws of Minnesota 1991 

                        CHAPTER 323-H.F.No. 459 
           An act relating to crimes; providing that a claimant 
          in a forfeiture proceeding does not have to pay a 
          filing fee; providing for appointment of qualified 
          interpreters in forfeiture proceedings; amending 
          Minnesota Statutes 1990, sections 609.531, subdivision 
          1; 609.5314, subdivisions 2 and 3; 611.31; and 611.32. 
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 
     Section 1.  Minnesota Statutes 1990, section 609.531, 
subdivision 1, is amended to read: 
    Subdivision 1.  [DEFINITIONS.] For the purpose of sections 
609.531 to 609.5317, the following terms have the meanings given 
them.  
    (a) "Conveyance device" means a device used for 
transportation and includes, but is not limited to, a motor 
vehicle, trailer, snowmobile, airplane, and vessel and any 
equipment attached to it.  The term "conveyance device" does not 
include property which is, in fact, itself stolen or taken in 
violation of the law.  
    (b) "Weapon used" means a weapon used in the furtherance of 
a crime and defined as a dangerous weapon under section 609.02, 
subdivision 6.  
    (c) "Property" means property as defined in section 609.52, 
subdivision 1, clause (1).  
    (d) "Contraband" means property which is illegal to possess 
under Minnesota law.  
    (e) "Appropriate agency" means the bureau of criminal 
apprehension, the Minnesota state patrol, a county sheriff's 
department, the suburban Hennepin regional park district park 
rangers, the department of natural resources division of 
enforcement, the University of Minnesota police department, or a 
city or airport police department.  
    (f) "Designated offense" includes:  
    (1) for weapons used:  any violation of this chapter; 
    (2) for all other purposes:  a felony violation of, or a 
felony-level attempt or conspiracy to violate, section 609.185; 
609.19; 609.195; 609.21; 609.221; 609.222; 609.223; 609.2231; 
609.24; 609.245; 609.25; 609.255; 609.322; 609.342, subdivision 
1, clauses (a) to (f); 609.343, subdivision 1, clauses (a) to 
(f); 609.344, subdivision 1, clauses (a) to (e), and (h) to (j); 
609.345, subdivision 1, clauses (a) to (e), and (h) to (j); 
609.42; 609.425; 609.466; 609.485; 609.487; 609.52; 609.525; 
609.53; 609.54; 609.551; 609.561; 609.562; 609.563; 609.582; 
609.59; 609.595; 609.631; 609.671, subdivisions 3, 4, and 5; 
609.687; 609.821; 609.825; 609.86; 609.88; 609.89; 237.73; 
617.246; or a gross misdemeanor or felony violation of section 
609.891.  
    (g) "Controlled substance" has the meaning given in section 
152.01, subdivision 4. 
    Sec. 2.  Minnesota Statutes 1990, section 609.5314, 
subdivision 2, is amended to read: 
    Subd. 2.  [ADMINISTRATIVE FORFEITURE PROCEDURE.] (a) 
Forfeiture of property described in subdivision 1 is governed by 
this subdivision.  When seizure occurs, or within a reasonable 
time after that, all persons known to have an ownership or 
possessory interest in seized property must be notified of the 
seizure and the intent to forfeit the property.  In the case of 
a motor vehicle required to be registered under chapter 168, 
notice mailed by certified mail to the address shown in 
department of public safety records is deemed sufficient notice 
to the registered owner.  
    (b) Notice may otherwise be given in the manner provided by 
law for service of a summons in a civil action.  The notice must 
be in writing and contain: 
    (1) a description of the property seized; 
    (2) the date of seizure; 
    (3) notice of the right to obtain judicial review of the 
forfeiture; and 
    (4) notice of the procedure for obtaining that judicial 
review of the forfeiture, printed in English, Hmong, and Spanish.
Substantially the following language must appear conspicuously:  
"IF YOU DO NOT DEMAND JUDICIAL REVIEW EXACTLY AS PRESCRIBED IN 
MINNESOTA STATUTES, SECTION 609.5314, SUBDIVISION 3, YOU LOSE 
THE RIGHT TO A JUDICIAL DETERMINATION OF THIS FORFEITURE AND YOU 
LOSE ANY RIGHT YOU MAY HAVE TO THE ABOVE DESCRIBED 
PROPERTY.  YOU MAY NOT HAVE TO PAY THE FILING FEE FOR THE DEMAND 
IF DETERMINED YOU ARE UNABLE TO AFFORD THE FEE.  YOU DO NOT HAVE 
TO PAY THE FILING FEE IF THE PROPERTY IS WORTH LESS THAN $500 
AND YOU FILE YOUR CLAIM IN CONCILIATION COURT."  
    Sec. 3.  Minnesota Statutes 1990, section 609.5314, 
subdivision 3, is amended to read: 
    Subd. 3.  [JUDICIAL DETERMINATION.] (a) Within 60 days 
following service of a notice of seizure and forfeiture under 
this section, a claimant may file a demand for a judicial 
determination of the forfeiture.  The demand must be in the form 
of a civil complaint and must be filed with the court 
administrator in the county in which the seizure occurred, 
together with proof of service of a copy of the complaint on the 
county attorney for that county, and the standard filing fee for 
civil actions unless the petitioner has the right to sue in 
forma pauperis under section 563.01.  If the value of the seized 
property is less than $500, the claimant may file an action in 
conciliation court for recovery of the seized property without 
paying the conciliation court filing fee.  No responsive 
pleading is required of the county attorney and no court fees 
may be charged for the county attorney's appearance in the 
matter.  The proceedings are governed by the rules of civil 
procedure. 
    (b) The complaint must be captioned in the name of the 
claimant as plaintiff, the seized property as defendant, and 
must state with specificity the grounds on which the claimant 
alleges the property was improperly seized and stating the 
plaintiff's interest in the property seized.  Notwithstanding 
any law to the contrary, an action for the return of property 
seized under this section may not be maintained by or on behalf 
of any person who has been served with a notice of seizure and 
forfeiture unless the person has complied with this subdivision. 
    (c) If the claimant makes a timely demand for judicial 
determination under this subdivision, the appropriate agency 
must conduct the forfeiture under section 609.531, subdivision 
6a. 
     (d) If a demand for judicial determination of an 
administrative forfeiture is filed under this subdivision and 
the court orders the return of the seized property, the court 
shall order that filing fees be reimbursed to the person who 
filed the demand.  In addition, the court may order the payment 
of reasonable costs, expenses, and attorney fees under section 
549.21, subdivision 2.  If the court orders payment of these 
costs, they must be paid from forfeited money or proceeds from 
the sale of forfeited property from the appropriate law 
enforcement and prosecuting agencies in the same proportion as 
they would be distributed under section 609.5315, subdivision 5. 
    Sec. 4.  Minnesota Statutes 1990, section 611.31, is 
amended to read: 
    611.31 [HANDICAPPED PERSON.] 
    For the purposes of sections 611.30 to 611.34, "person 
handicapped in communication" means a person who:  (a) because 
of a hearing, speech or other communication disorder, or (b) 
because of difficulty in speaking or comprehending the English 
language, cannot fully understand the proceedings or any charges 
made against the person, or the seizure of the person's 
property, or is incapable of presenting or assisting in the 
presentation of a defense. 
    Sec. 5.  Minnesota Statutes 1990, section 611.32, is 
amended to read: 
    611.32 [PROCEEDINGS WHERE INTERPRETER APPOINTED.] 
    Subdivision 1.  [PROCEEDINGS AND PRELIMINARY PROCEEDINGS 
INVOLVING POSSIBLE CRIMINAL SANCTIONS OR CONFINEMENT.] In any 
proceeding in which a person handicapped in communication may be 
subjected to confinement or, criminal sanction, or forfeiture of 
the person's property, and in any proceeding preliminary to that 
proceeding, including coroner's inquest, grand jury proceedings, 
and proceedings relating to mental health commitments, the 
presiding judicial officer shall appoint a qualified interpreter 
to assist the person handicapped in communication and any 
witness handicapped in communication throughout the proceedings. 
    Subd. 2.  [PROCEEDINGS AT TIME OF APPREHENSION OR ARREST.] 
Following the apprehension or arrest of a person handicapped in 
communication for an alleged violation of a criminal law, the 
arresting officer, sheriff or other law enforcement official 
shall immediately make necessary contacts to obtain a qualified 
interpreter and shall obtain an interpreter at the earliest 
possible time at the place of detention.  A law enforcement 
officer shall, with the assistance of the interpreter, explain 
to the person handicapped in communication, all charges filed 
against the person, and all procedures relating to the person's 
detainment and release.  If the property of a person is seized 
under section 609.531, subdivision 4, the seizing officer, 
sheriff, or other law enforcement official shall, upon request, 
make available to the person at the earliest possible time a 
qualified interpreter to assist the person in understanding the 
possible consequences of the seizure and the person's right to 
judicial review.  If the seizure is governed by section 
609.5314, subdivision 2, a request for an interpreter must be 
made within 15 days after service of the notice of seizure and 
forfeiture.  For a person who requests an interpreter under this 
section because of a seizure of property under section 609.5314, 
the 60 days for filing a demand for a judicial determination of 
a forfeiture begins when the interpreter is provided.  The 
interpreter shall also assist the person with all other 
communications, including communications relating to needed 
medical attention.  Prior to interrogating or taking the 
statement of the person handicapped in communication, the 
arresting officer, sheriff, or other law enforcement official 
shall make available to the person a qualified interpreter to 
assist the person throughout the interrogation or taking of a 
statement. 
    Presented to the governor May 30, 1991 
    Signed by the governor June 3, 1991, 9:50 a.m.