§ 41–304. Notice.
(a)(1)(A) Upon the seizure of any property by law enforcement, the District shall take all reasonable steps to identify the owner or owners of the seized property and provide the owner or owners with notice of the intent of the District to seek forfeiture of the property.
(B) The notice shall be in writing and shall be provided in person or by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested. If an owner is detained or otherwise in the custody of the government, the District shall provide notice to the owner where he or she is detained or in custody. The District shall also publish on its official website notice of the seizure.
(C) Notice provided in person shall not be valid unless:
(i) The owner signs a return receipt acknowledging acceptance of the notice; or
(ii) A representative of the District attests in a sworn document to personal knowledge that the owner received notice but refused to sign a return receipt.
(D) The District shall send or provide notice to the owner:
(i) Within 10 business days after the seizure, if the property is not subject to an evidentiary hold;
(ii) Within 10 business days after receiving written notice from the prosecutorial authority that the property will not be needed as evidence in a criminal case if the property was subject to an evidentiary hold for a case that was not charged by the prosecutorial authority after an arrest; or
(iii) Within 5 business days after receiving written notice from the prosecutorial authority that the property will not be needed as evidence in a criminal case if the property was subject to an evidentiary hold for a case that was charged by the prosecutorial authority after an arrest.
(2)(A) The written notice shall identify the property seized and the property identification number.
(B) For each item seized, the notice shall also include:
(i) Whether the item is immediately returnable to the owner;
(ii) Whether the District intends to seek forfeiture; and
(iii) Whether the District intends to dispose of the property or has disposed of the property pursuant to § 41-303(e).
(C) The notice shall explain:
(i) The process by which the owner may retrieve items deemed immediately returnable;
(ii) The legal basis upon which the District seeks forfeiture of the property, the time period within which the owner must file a claim of interest and intent to contest forfeiture in the seized property pursuant to § 41-305, and the consequence of an owner’s failure to file a claim of interest and intent to contest forfeiture within the time provided under § 41-305(c);
(iii) The process by which the owner may request interim release of the item pending forfeiture proceedings, and by which the District may seek to retain the property in the interim, including the expedited timing of the possible court hearing pursuant to § 41-306(c)(4);
(iv) The affirmative defenses available under § 41-308(f); and
(v) That the District cannot condition either the interim or permanent release of the owner’s property on a requirement that the owner communicate with any agent of the District or representative of law enforcement other than by submission of the form described in subparagraph (D) of this paragraph.
(D) The notice shall include a claim form which the owner may use to assert his or her interest in the seized property, his or her intent to contest forfeiture, and to request the interim release of property pending the final outcome of any forfeiture proceedings.
(E) The notice shall also include the name and contact information of the District official to whom the owner shall return the claim form and direct any other correspondence.
(b)(1) If the notice required by subsection (a)(1)(A) of this section is not sent or provided to the owner as required by subsection (a)(1)(D) of this section, the seized property shall be returned without conditions to the owner unless the District demonstrates good cause particular to the circumstances of the case for the delay in notification of the owner.
(2) Release of the property for failure to comply with notice requirements shall not prejudice the right of the District later to file a libel of information seeking forfeiture pursuant to § 41-307.