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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

297A.91 SEIZURE; COURT REVIEW.
    Subdivision 1. Seizure of property used in illegal transport. (a) If the retailer does not
have a sales or use tax permit and has been engaging in transporting personal property into the
state without payment of the tax, the commissioner of revenue or the commissioner's agents may
seize in the name of the state any truck, automobile, or means of transportation not owned or
operated by a for-hire carrier, used in the illegal importation and transportation of any tangible
personal property by a retailer or the retailer's agent or employee. The commissioner may demand
the forfeiture and sale of the truck, automobile, or other means of transportation together with
the property being transported illegally, unless the owner establishes to the satisfaction of the
commissioner or the court that the owner had no notice or knowledge or reason to believe that the
vehicle was used or intended to be used in any such violation.
(b) Within ten days after the seizure, the person making the seizure shall serve by certified
mail an inventory of the vehicle and property seized on the person from whom the seizure was
made, if known, and on any person known or believed to have any right, title, interest, or lien on
the vehicle or property, at the last known address. The person making the seizure shall also file a
copy of the inventory with the commissioner. The notice must include an explanation of the right
to demand a judicial forfeiture determination.
    Subd. 2. Court review of forfeiture. (a) Within 60 days after the date of service of the
inventory, which is the date of mailing, the person from whom the vehicle and property were
seized or any person claiming an interest in the vehicle or property may file a demand for a
judicial determination of the question of whether the vehicle or property was lawfully subject to
seizure and forfeiture.
(b) 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 or a copy
of the complaint on the commissioner of revenue, 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 or vehicle is $7,500 or less, the claimant may file an action in conciliation court
for its recovery. If the value of the seized property or vehicle is less than $500, the claimant does
not have to pay the conciliation court filing fee.
(c) The complaint must be captioned in the name of the claimant as plaintiff and the seized
property or vehicle as defendant, and must state with specificity the grounds on which the
claimant alleges the property or vehicle was improperly seized and the plaintiff's interest in the
property or vehicle seized. No responsive pleading is required of the commissioner, and no
court fees may be charged for the commissioner's appearance in the matter. The proceedings are
governed by the Rules of Civil Procedure. Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, an action
for the return of property or a vehicle seized under this subdivision may not be maintained by or
on behalf of any person who has been served with an inventory unless the person has complied
with this subdivision. The court shall hear the action without a jury and shall determine the
issues of fact and law involved. If a judgment of forfeiture is entered and is not stayed pending
an appeal, the commissioner may have the forfeited vehicle and property sold at public auction
as provided by law.
    Subd. 3. Treatment of seized property. If no demand for judicial determination is made, the
vehicle and property seized are considered forfeited to the state by operation of law and may be
disposed of by the commissioner as if there were a judgment of forfeiture. The forfeiture and sale
of the automobile, truck, or other means of transportation, and of the property being transported
illegally in it, are a penalty for the violation of this chapter. After deducting the expense of
keeping the vehicle and property, the fee for seizure, and the costs of the sale, the commissioner
shall pay liens from the funds collected. The commissioner shall pay all liens, according to their
priority, that are established as being bona fide and as existing without the lienor having any
notice or knowledge that the vehicle or property was being used or was intended to be used for or
in connection with any such violation. The commissioner shall pay the balance of the proceeds
into the state treasury to be credited to the general fund. The state is not liable for any liens in
excess of the proceeds from the sale after allowable deductions. A sale under this section frees
the vehicle and property sold from all liens.
History: 2000 c 418 art 1 s 34; 1Sp2001 c 5 art 12 s 78; art 18 s 3