AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR THE SEIZURE, CONDEMNATION AND FORFEITURE TO THE STATE OF DELAWARE OF ALL VEHICLES KNOWINGLY USED IN OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE COMMISSION OF ANY FELONY OR IN THE VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 42 OF CHAPTER 100 OF THE REVISED CODE OF DELAWARE, 1935, RELATING TO NARCOTIC DRUGS OR KNOWINGLY AND VOLUNTARILY USED IN OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE FLIGHT OR ESCAPE OF ANY PERSON WHO HAS COMMITTED ANY FELONY OR WHO HAS VIOLATED THE PROVISIONS OF THE AFORESAID LAW RELATING TO NARCOTIC DRUGS.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Delaware in General Assembly met:
Section 1. The term "vehicle" when used in this Act shall be construed to include all motor propelled vehicles, wagons, carts, carriages, bicycles and aircraft.
Section 2. Whenever any vehicle as above defined shall have been used in, or in connection, with the commission of any felony, or in the commission of any act in violation of Chapter 100 Article 42 of the Revised Code of Delaware, 1935, relating to narcotic drugs, or in, or in connection with, the flight or escape of any person who has committed any felony, or who has violated the said law relating to narcotic drugs shall forthwith be seized and taken into custody by the peace officer or officers having knowledge of the facts of such use.
Section 3. Said vehicle seized under the provisions of Section 1 of this Act shall be proceeded against by the Attorney General on behalf of The State of Delaware, by libel in the Superior Court or The State of Delaware in term time, or before any Judge thereof in vacation, for the condemnation and forfeiture of said vehicle to The State of Delaware. The Superior Court may by rule provide for the practice and procedure under this Act, including the giving of notice of the pendency of said libel of condemnation to all parties in interest, and in any event notice by registered United States mail to the last known post office address of the party in interest, or by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in The State of Delaware as said Court by rule or order shall prescribe shall be sufficient.
Section 4. Upon the judgment of the Court in term time or any Judge thereof in vacation, the vehicle so seized and all of the right, title and interest therein, or any right, title or interest in and to any such motor vehicle, as the Court or Judge shall determine, shall be forfeited to The State of Delaware and said vehicle shall be committed to the custody of the State Treasurer who may allocate the same to and for the use of any state bureau, department, agency or officer or may in his discretion sell the same and deposit the proceeds in the general funds of The State of Delaware.
Section 5. The provisions of this Act with respect to condemnation and forfeiture shall not apply to or against the owner of a vehicle who has not knowingly used or permitted said vehicle to be used in, or in connection with, the commission of a felony, or in, or in connection with, any violation of the aforesaid laws relating to narcotic drugs, or who has not knowingly and voluntarily used or permitted said vehicle to be used in, or in connection with, the flight or .escape of any person who has committed any such felony or violation of the law relating to narcotic drugs. Nothing in this Act shall be construed as authorizing the condemnation and forfeiture of the interest of any bona fide mortgagee or lienholder with respect to said vehicle but the burden in all such cases shall be upon such mortgagee or lienholder to show that he or it did not know or have cause to know, at the time his or its interest accrued, of a contemplated unlawful use of such vehicle.
Approved May 4, 1939.