State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > North-carolina > Chapter_18B > GS_18B-503

§18B‑503.  Disposition of seized alcoholic beverages.

(a)        Storage. – A law‑enforcementofficer who seizes alcoholic beverages as evidence of an ABC law violationshall provide for the storage of those alcoholic beverages until thecommencement of the trial or administrative hearing relating to the violation,unless some other disposition is authorized under this section.

(b)        Disposition BeforeTrial. – After giving notice to each defendant, to any other known owner, andto the Commission, a judge may order any of the following dispositions ofalcoholic beverages seized as evidence of an ABC law violation:

(1)        The destruction ofany malt beverages except that amount needed for evidence at trial.

(2)        The sale of anyalcoholic beverages other than malt beverages or nontaxpaid alcoholicbeverages, and other than any alcoholic beverages needed for evidence at trial,if the trial is likely to be delayed for more than 90 days, or if the quantityor nature of the alcoholic beverages is such that storage is impractical orunduly expensive.

(3)        The destruction ofthe alcoholic beverages if storage or sale is not practical.

(4)        Continued storage ofthe alcoholic beverages.

(c)        Disposition AfterTrial. – After the criminal charge is resolved, a judge may order the followingdispositions of seized alcoholic beverages:

(1)        If the owner orpossessor of the alcoholic beverages is found guilty of a criminal chargerelating to those alcoholic beverages, the judge may order the sale ordestruction of any alcoholic beverages that were held until trial.

(2)        If the owner orpossessor of the alcoholic beverages is found not guilty, or if charges aredismissed or otherwise resolved in favor of the owner or possessor, the judgeshall order the alcoholic beverages returned to that owner or possessor, exceptas provided in subdivision (3).

(3)        If the owner orpossessor of the alcoholic beverages is found not guilty, or if charges areotherwise resolved in favor of the owner or possessor, but possession of thealcoholic beverages by that owner or possessor would be unlawful, the judgeshall order the alcoholic beverages either sold or destroyed.

(4)        If ownership of thealcoholic beverages remains uncertain after trial or after the charges havebeen dismissed, the judge may order the alcoholic beverages held, or thealcoholic beverages sold and the proceeds held, for a specified time, untilownership of the alcoholic beverages can be determined.

(d)        Holding forAdministrative Hearings. – If alcoholic beverages used as evidence in acriminal proceeding are also needed as evidence at an administrative hearing, ajudge shall not order any of the dispositions set out in subsection (c), butshall order the alcoholic beverages held for the administrative hearing and fora determination of final disposition by the Commission. The Commission may,before or after an administrative hearing, order any of the dispositionsauthorized under subsections (b) and (c).  If no related criminal proceedinghas commenced, the Commission shall not order sale or destruction of alcoholicbeverages until notice has been given to the district attorney for the districtwhere the alcoholic beverages were seized or any violation of ABC laws relatedto the seizure of the alcoholic beverages is likely to be prosecuted.

(e)        Sale Procedure. –The sale of unfortified wine or fortified wine shall be by public auctionunless those wines would likely become spoiled or lose value in the timerequired to arrange a public auction.  If spoilage or loss of value is likely,the judge ordering the sale or the Commission may authorize sale at theprevailing wholesale price, as determined by the Commission, to one or morepersons holding the appropriate retail wine permits in the county in which thewine was seized, or in a neighboring county if there are no such persons in thecounty in which the wine was seized.  Spirituous liquor may be sold only to thelocal ABC board serving the city or county in which the liquor was seized, or,if there is no local board for that city or county, to the nearest localboard.  The sale price shall be at least ten percent (10%) less than the pricethe local board would pay for the same liquor bought through the Statewarehouse.

(f)         Sale Proceeds. –An agency selling alcoholic beverages seized under the provisions of thisChapter shall keep the proceeds in a separate account until some otherdisposition is ordered by a judge or the Commission.  In a criminal proceeding,if the owner or possessor of the alcoholic beverages is found guilty of aviolation relating to seizure of the alcoholic beverages, if the owner orpossessor is found not guilty or the charge is dismissed or otherwise resolvedin favor of the owner or possessor, but the possession of the alcoholicbeverages by that owner or possessor would be unlawful, or if the ownership ofthe alcoholic beverages cannot be determined, the proceeds from the sale ofthose alcoholic beverages shall be paid to the school fund of the county inwhich the alcoholic beverages were seized.  If the owner or possessor of alcoholicbeverages seized for violation of the ABC laws is found not guilty of criminalcharges relating to the seizure of those beverages or the charge is dismissedor otherwise resolved in favor of the owner or possessor, and if possession ofthe alcoholic beverages by that owner or possessor was lawful when thebeverages were seized, the proceeds from the sale of those alcoholic beveragesshall be paid to the owner or possessor.  The agency making the sale may deductand retain from the amount to be placed in the county school fund the costs ofstoring the seized alcoholic beverages and of conducting the sale, but may notdeduct those costs from the amount to be turned over to an owner or possessorof the alcoholic beverages.

(g)        Court Action byOwner. – Any person who claims any of the following resulting from the seizureof alcoholic beverages may bring an action in the superior court of the countyin which the alcoholic beverages were seized:

(1)        To be the owner ofalcoholic beverages that are wrongfully held.

(2)        To be the owner ofalcoholic beverages that are needed as evidence in another proceeding.

(3)        To be entitled toproceeds from a sale of seized alcoholic beverages.

(4)        To be entitled torestitution for alcoholic beverages wrongfully destroyed. (1923,c. 1, s. 12; C.S., s. 3411(l); 1939, c. 12; 1941, c. 310; 1957, c. 1235, s. 3;1971, c. 872, s. 1; 1981, c. 412, s. 2; 1993, c. 415, s. 5.)