A. If an information has not been filed, then upon seizure of any property under Chapter 22.2 (§ 19.2-386.15 et seq.) or other provision under the Code, the agency seizing the property shall forthwith notify in writing the attorney for the Commonwealth in the county or city in which the seizure occurred, who shall, within 21 days of receipt of such notice, file a notice of seizure for forfeiture with the clerk of the circuit court. Such notice of seizure for forfeiture shall specifically describe the property seized, set forth in general terms the grounds for seizure, identify the date on which the seizure occurred, and identify all owners and lien holders then known or of record, including the treasurer of the locality in which the seized property is located. The clerk shall forthwith mail by first-class mail notice of seizure for forfeiture to the last known address of all identified owners and lien holders. When property has been seized under Chapter 22.2 (§ 19.2-386.15 et seq.) or other provision under the Code prior to filing an information, then an information against that property shall be filed within 90 days of the date of seizure or the property shall be released to the owner or lien holder.
B. Except as to corporations, all parties defendant shall be served, in accordance with § 8.01-296, with a copy of the information and a notice to appear prior to any motion for default judgment on the information. The notice shall contain a statement warning the party defendant that his interest in the property shall be subject to forfeiture to the Commonwealth unless within 30 days after service on him of the notice, or before the date set forth in the order of publication with respect to the notice, an answer under oath is filed in the proceeding setting forth (i) the nature of the defendant’s claim, (ii) the exact right, title or character of the ownership or interest in the property and the evidence thereof, and (iii) the reason, cause, exemption or defense he may have against the forfeiture of his interest in the property, including but not limited to the exemptions set forth in § 19.2-386.8. Service upon corporations shall be made in accordance with § 8.01-299 or subdivision 1 or 2 of § 8.01-301; however, if such service cannot be thus made, it shall be made by publication in accordance with § 8.01-317.
1989, c. 690; 1991, c. 560; 1996, c. 673; 2002, cc. 588, 623; 2004, c. 995; 2011, c. 83; 2012, cc. 283, 756.