Terms Used In Wisconsin Statutes 968.20

  • Adult: means a person who has attained the age of 18 years, except that for purposes of investigating or prosecuting a person who is alleged to have violated any state or federal criminal law or any civil law or municipal ordinance, "adult" means a person who has attained the age of 17 years. See Wisconsin Statutes 990.01
  • Defendant: In a civil suit, the person complained against; in a criminal case, the person accused of the crime.
  • Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
  • Following: when used by way of reference to any statute section, means the section next following that in which the reference is made. See Wisconsin Statutes 990.01
  • Person: includes all partnerships, associations and bodies politic or corporate. See Wisconsin Statutes 990.01
  • Property: includes real and personal property. See Wisconsin Statutes 990.01
  • Restitution: The court-ordered payment of money by the defendant to the victim for damages caused by the criminal action.
  • State: when applied to states of the United States, includes the District of Columbia, the commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the several territories organized by Congress. See Wisconsin Statutes 990.01
  • Town: may be construed to include cities, villages, wards or districts. See Wisconsin Statutes 990.01
  • Trial: A hearing that takes place when the defendant pleads "not guilty" and witnesses are required to come to court to give evidence.
  • Village: means incorporated village. See Wisconsin Statutes 990.01
   (1)    Any person claiming the right to possession of property seized pursuant to a search warrant or seized without a search warrant, except for an animal taken into custody under s. 173.13 (1) or withheld from its owner under s. 173.21 (1) (a), may apply for its return to the circuit court for the county in which the property was seized or where the search warrant was returned, except that a court may commence a hearing, on its own initiative, to return property seized under s. 968.26. If an initial appearance under s. 970.01 is scheduled, the application for the return of the property shall be filed within 120 days of the initial appearance.
   (1g)   The court shall order such notice as it deems adequate to be given the district attorney and, unless notice was provided under s. 968.26 (7), to all persons who have or may have an interest in the property. The court shall hold a hearing to hear all claims to its true ownership. Except for a hearing commenced by the court, the hearing shall occur no more than 30 days after a motion is filed except that either party may, by agreement or for good cause, move the court for one extension of no more than 10 days. Any motion may be supported by affidavits or other submissions. If the right to possession is proved to the court’s satisfaction, it shall order the property, other than contraband or property covered under sub. (1m) or (1r) or s. 173.21 (4) or 968.205, returned if the court finds any of the following:
      (a)    It is likely that the final judgment will be that the state must return the property to the claimant and the property is not reasonably needed as evidence or for other investigatory reasons or, if needed, satisfactory arrangements can be made for its return for subsequent use.
      (am)    The property is the only reasonable means for a defendant to pay for legal representation in the forfeiture or criminal proceeding, the property is not likely to be needed for payment of victim compensation, restitution, or fines, and the property is not reasonably needed as evidence or for other investigatory reasons. If the court makes this finding, it may order the return of funds or property sufficient to obtain legal counsel but less than the total amount seized and require an accounting.
      (b)    All proceedings and investigations in which it might be required have been completed.
   (1h)   If a court orders property returned under sub. (1g), the court shall order the person not to sell, transfer, assign, or otherwise encumber the property until the court orders the property either returned under s. 961.55 (3) or 973.075 (5) or forfeited under s. 961.555 or 973.076. If the person is subsequently convicted of or found to have committed the offense, the court shall order the person to surrender the returned property for proceedings under s. 961.555 or 973.076, whichever is appropriate.
   (1m)   
      (a)    In this subsection:
         1.    “Crime” includes an act committed by a juvenile or by an adult who is adjudicated incompetent that would have been a crime if the act had been committed by a competent adult.
         2.    “Dangerous weapon” has the meaning given in s. 939.22 (10).
      (b)    If the seized property is a dangerous weapon or ammunition, the property shall not be returned to any person who committed a crime involving the use of the dangerous weapon or the ammunition.
      (c)    Subject to par. (d), seized property that is a dangerous weapon or ammunition may be returned to the rightful owner under this section if the owner had no prior knowledge of and gave no consent to the commission of the crime.
      (d)   
         1.    If the seized property is a firearm, the property has not been returned under this section, and a person claiming the right to possession of the firearm has applied for its return under sub. (1), the court shall order a hearing under sub. (1) to occur within 20 business days after the person applies for the return. If, at the hearing, all conditions under sub. (1) have been met and the person is not prohibited from possessing a firearm under state or federal law as determined by using information provided under s. 165.63, the court shall, within 5 days of the completion of the hearing and using a return of firearms form developed by the director of state courts, order the property returned if one of the following has occurred:
            a.    The district attorney has affirmatively declined to file charges in connection with the seizure against the person.
            b.    All charges filed in connection with the seizure against the person have been dismissed.
            c.    Ten months have passed since the seizure and no charges in connection with the seizure have been filed against the person.
            d.    The trial court has reached final disposition for all charges in connection with the seizure and the person has not been adjudged guilty, or not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect, of a crime in connection with the seizure.
            e.    The person has established that he or she had no prior knowledge of and gave no consent to the commission of the activity that led to the seizure.
         2.    If an entity holding a seized firearm receives a return of firearms form, the entity shall return the firearm within 10 business days of receiving the form unless the entity determines that the person who would receive the firearm is prohibited from possessing a firearm under state or federal law. The entity shall use the information provided under s. 165.63 to aid in making the determination under this subdivision.
      (e)    Property which may not be returned to an owner under this subsection shall be disposed of under subs. (3) and (4).
   (1r)   
      (a)    If the seized property is a firearm ordered seized under s. 51.20 (13) (cv) 1., 2007 stats., the court that issued that order shall order the firearm returned if the order under s. 51.20 (13) (cv) 1., 2007 stats., has been canceled under s. 51.20 (13) (cv) 2. or (16) (gm), 2007 stats., or is canceled under s. 51.20 (13) (cv) 1m. c.
      (b)    If the seized property is a firearm ordered seized under s. 51.20 (13) (cv) 1., the court that issued that order shall order the firearm returned if the order under s. 51.20 (13) (cv) 1. is canceled under s. 51.20 (13) (cv) 1m. c.
      (c)    If the seized property is a firearm ordered seized under s. 51.45 (13) (i) 1., the court that issued that order shall order the firearm returned if the order under s. 51.45 (13) (i) 1. is canceled under s. 51.45 (13) (i) 2. c.
      (d)    If the seized property is a firearm ordered seized under s. 54.10 (3) (f) 1., the court that issued that order shall order the firearm returned if the order under s. 54.10 (3) (f) 1. is canceled under s. 54.10 (3) (f) 2. c.
      (e)    If the seized property is a firearm ordered seized under s. 55.12 (10) (a), the court that issued that order shall order the firearm returned if the order under s. 55.12 (10) (a) is canceled under s. 55.12 (10) (b) 3.
   (2)   Property not required for evidence or use in further investigation, unless contraband or property covered under sub. (1m) or (1r) or s. 173.12 or 968.205, may be returned by the officer to the person from whom it was seized without the requirement of a hearing.
   (3)   
      (a)    First class cities shall dispose of dangerous weapons or ammunition seized 12 months after taking possession of them if the owner, authorized under sub. (1m), has not requested their return and if the dangerous weapon or ammunition is not required for evidence or use in further investigation and has not been disposed of pursuant to a court order at the completion of a criminal action or proceeding. Disposition procedures shall be established by ordinance or resolution and may include provisions authorizing an attempt to return to the rightful owner any dangerous weapons or ammunition which appear to be stolen or are reported stolen. If enacted, any such provision shall include a presumption that if the dangerous weapons or ammunition appear to be or are reported stolen an attempt will be made to return the dangerous weapons or ammunition to the authorized rightful owner. If the return of a seized dangerous weapon other than a firearm is not requested by its rightful owner under sub. (1) and is not returned by the officer under sub. (2), the city shall safely dispose of the dangerous weapon or, if the dangerous weapon is a motor vehicle, as defined in s. 340.01 (35), sell the motor vehicle following the procedure under s. 973.075 (4) or authorize a law enforcement agency to retain and use the motor vehicle. If the return of a seized firearm or ammunition is not requested by its authorized rightful owner under sub. (1) and is not returned by the officer under sub. (2), the seized firearm or ammunition shall be shipped to and become property of the state crime laboratories. A person designated by the department of justice may destroy any material for which the laboratory has no use or arrange for the exchange of material with other public agencies. In lieu of destruction, shoulder weapons for which the laboratories have no use shall be turned over to the department of natural resources for sale and distribution of proceeds under s. 29.934 or for use under s. 29.938.
      (b)    Except as provided in par. (a) or sub. (1m) or (4), a city, village, town or county or other custodian of a seized dangerous weapon or ammunition, if the dangerous weapon or ammunition is not required for evidence or use in further investigation and has not been disposed of pursuant to a court order at the completion of a criminal action or proceeding, shall make reasonable efforts to notify all persons who have or may have an authorized rightful interest in the dangerous weapon or ammunition of the application requirements under sub. (1). If, within 30 days after the notice, an application under sub. (1) is not made and the seized dangerous weapon or ammunition is not returned by the officer under sub. (2), the city, village, town or county or other custodian may retain the dangerous weapon or ammunition and authorize its use by a law enforcement agency, except that a dangerous weapon used in the commission of a homicide or a handgun, as defined in s. 175.35 (1) (b), may not be retained. If a dangerous weapon other than a firearm is not so retained, the city, village, town or county or other custodian shall safely dispose of the dangerous weapon or, if the dangerous weapon is a motor vehicle, as defined in s. 340.01 (35), sell the motor vehicle following the procedure under s. 973.075 (4). If a firearm or ammunition is not so retained, the city, village, town or county or other custodian shall ship it to the state crime laboratories and it is then the property of the laboratories. A person designated by the department of justice may destroy any material for which the laboratories have no use or arrange for the exchange of material with other public agencies. In lieu of destruction, shoulder weapons for which the laboratory has no use shall be turned over to the department of natural resources for sale and distribution of proceeds under s. 29.934 or for use under s. 29.938.
   (4)   Any property seized, other than property covered under s. 968.205, that poses a danger to life or other property in storage, transportation or use and that is not required for evidence or further investigation shall be safely disposed of upon command of the person in whose custody they are committed. The city, village, town or county shall by ordinance or resolution establish disposal procedures. Procedures may include provisions authorizing an attempt to return to the rightful owner substances which have a commercial value in normal business usage and do not pose an immediate threat to life or property. If enacted, any such provision shall include a presumption that if the substance appears to be or is reported stolen an attempt will be made to return the substance to the rightful owner.