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      RS 56:59     


§59.  Disposition of seized vessels, airplanes, vehicles, and equipment therefor

A.  Vessels, airplanes, vehicles, and other means of transport and the equipment therefor, all hereinafter called "the thing", seized under the provisions of R.S. 56:57, may be released from seizure upon the owner or person in charge furnishing bond with security as fixed and approved by the judge or court having jurisdiction.  If the penalty for the offense charged includes forfeiture, upon conviction of the offender, the court shall order the thing forfeited to the department and sold at public auction by the sheriff without necessity of appraisement but after advertisement as prescribed by law for the sale of movable property seized under a writ of fieri facias.  The court, as an alternative to forfeiture and sale, and on petition of the secretary, may order suspension of operation of the thing for not less than thirty days nor more than ninety days.  During any suspension of operation of the thing, it shall be kept in the custody of the department at the cost and risk of the thing, its owner or operator, and not released until all charges are paid.  The owner or operator may provide a keeper at his own expense, the thing however, to continue in the custody of the commission.  

B.  Where forfeiture or suspension is decreed or where the owner or lessee of the thing proves the offense was committed without his knowledge or consent, the captain, pilot, or other person in charge or command of the thing at the time of commission of the offense, by order of the court shall be enjoined from engaging in use or operation of the thing in violation of any provision of this Title.  Further, the captain, pilot, or other person in charge or command of the thing at the time of commission of the offense, by order of the court, shall be suspended from engaging in the taking or in activity in which he was engaged at the time of his arrest for a period of not less than sixty days nor more than six months.  In addition the captain, pilot, or person in charge or command shall be guilty of a class three violation.  

C.  Proceedings under this Section may be in rem against the thing and when so instituted shall be conducted in accordance with R.S. 34:801 through R.S. 34:817 when not inconsistent with this Chapter.  Notice of an in rem proceeding shall be given by the department as provided in R.S. 34:806 and persons interested may file answers as provided in R.S. 34:808.  If no answer is filed, default may be taken as provided in R.S. 34:809.  The plaintiff may, at its option, join a suit in personam against the vessel owner or operator.  

D.  Upon seizure of the thing as provided in R.S. 56:57 and either before or after proceedings conforming therewith have been filed in the district court, the secretary, as party plaintiff, may enter into a compromise with parties defendant and file a pleading setting forth the seizure and the cause thereof.  The agreement and the case shall be docketed with the approval of the court and shall be the basis of a final civil judgment entitled to full authority, faith, and credit binding on all parties with the force and effect of a thing adjudged.  No compromise shall be effected where the actual suspension of the thing shall be ordered and decreed for less than ten days.  If it be shown that the owner or lessee is without guilty knowledge, the guilty parties shall be guilty of a class three violation.  

Acts 1981, No. 837, §1; Acts 1985, No. 876, §3, eff. July 23, 1985.  

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