49 U.S.C.
United States Code, 2011 Edition
Title 49 - TRANSPORTATION
SUBTITLE X - MISCELLANEOUS
CHAPTER 803 - CONTRABAND
Sec. 80303 - Seizure and forfeiture
From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov

§80303. Seizure and forfeiture

The Secretary of the Treasury or the Governor of Guam or of the Northern Mariana Islands as provided in section 80304 of this title, or, when the violation of this chapter involves contraband described in paragraph (2) or (5) of section 80302(a), the Attorney General or a person authorized by another law to enforce section 80302 of this title, shall seize an aircraft, vehicle, or vessel involved in a violation of section 80302 and place it in the custody of a person designated by the Secretary, the Attorney General, or appropriate Governor, as the case may be. The seized aircraft, vehicle, or vessel shall be forfeited, except when the owner establishes that a person except the owner committed the violation when the aircraft, vehicle, or vessel was in the possession of a person who got possession by violating a criminal law of the United States or a State. However, an aircraft, vehicle, or vessel used by a common carrier to provide transportation for compensation may be forfeited only when—

(1) the owner, conductor, driver, pilot, or other individual in charge of the aircraft or vehicle (except a rail car or engine) consents to, or knows of, the alleged violation when the violation occurs;

(2) the owner of the rail car or engine consents to, or knows of, the alleged violation when the violation occurs; or

(3) the master or owner of the vessel consents to, or knows of, the alleged violation when the violation occurs.

(Pub. L. 103–272, §1(e), July 5, 1994, 108 Stat. 1354; Pub. L. 107–296, title XI, §1112(q), Nov. 25, 2002, 116 Stat. 2278.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised

Section

Source (U.S. Code)Source (Statutes at Large)
80303 49 App.:782. Aug. 9, 1939, ch. 618, §2, 53 Stat. 1291; Nov. 18, 1988, Pub. L. 100–690, §6076(a), 102 Stat. 4324.
  49 App.:783 (last sentence). Aug. 9, 1939, ch. 318, §3 (last sentence), 53 Stat. 1292.

In this section, before clause (1), the words “The Secretary of the Treasury . . . shall seize” are substituted for “shall be seized” in 49 App.:782 and “It shall be the duty of any officer, agent, or other person so authorized or designated . . . whenever he shall discover any vessel, vehicle, or aircraft” in 49 App.:783 (last sentence) to eliminate unnecessary words and for consistency in the revised title. The words “the Governor of Guam or of the Northern Mariana Islands as provided in section 80304 of this title” are added because under 49 App.:789 the Governor of Guam enforces 49 App.:ch. 11 in Guam and because, under section 502(a)(2) of the Covenant to Establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union with the United States of America, as enacted by the Act of March 24, 1976 (Public Law 94–241, 90 Stat. 263), and proclaimed to be in effect by the President on January 9, 1978 (Proc. No. 4534, Oct. 24, 1977, 42 F.R. 56593, 48 U.S.C. 1681 (note)), the Commonwealth was given the same authority as Guam when a law applies to Guam and the States of the United States generally. The words “or a person authorized by another law to enforce section 80302 of this title” are substituted for “or authorized by law” for clarity. The words “involved in a violation of section 80302” are substituted for “which has been or is being used in violation of any provision of section 781 of this Appendix, or in, upon, or by means of which any violation of said section has taken or is taking place” in 49 App.:782 and “which has been or is being used in violation of any of the provisions of this chapter, or in, upon, or by means of which any violation of this chapter has taken or is taking place” in 49 App.:783 (last sentence) to eliminate unnecessary words. The word “designated” is substituted for “authorized or designated” in 49 App.:783 (last sentence) to eliminate unnecessary words. The words “or appropriate Governor, as the case may be” are added for clarity and for consistency in this section. The words “to await disposition pursuant to the provisions of this chapter and any regulations issued hereunder” are omitted as unnecessary. The words “except when . . . committed the violation” are substituted for “Provided further, That no vessel, vehicle, or aircraft shall be forfeited under the provisions of this chapter by reason of any act or omission . . . committed or omitted” in 49 App.:782 for clarity. The words “However . . . used by a common carrier to provide transportation for compensation may be forfeited only when” are substituted for “Provided, That no . . . used by any person as a common carrier in the transaction of business as such common carrier shall be forfeited under the provisions of this chapter unless it shall appear that” for clarity and consistency in the revised title. In clauses (1)–(3), the words “knows of” are substituted for “privy thereto” for clarity. The word “violation” is substituted for “illegal act” for consistency in the revised title and with other titles of the United States Code.

References in Text

The criminal laws of the United States, referred to in text, are classified generally to Title 18, Crimes and Criminal Procedure.

Amendments

2002—Pub. L. 107–296, §1112(q)(2), inserted “, the Attorney General,” after “by the Secretary” in introductory provisions.

Pub. L. 107–296, §1112(q)(1), which directed amendment of this section by inserting “or, when the violation of this chapter involves contraband described in paragraph (2) or (5) of section 80302(a), the Attorney General” after “section 80304 of this title.”, was executed by making the insertion after “section 80304 of this title,” to reflect the probable intent of Congress.

Effective Date of 2002 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 107–296 effective 60 days after Nov. 25, 2002, see section 4 of Pub. L. 107–296, set out as an Effective Date note under section 101 of Title 6, Domestic Security.