Q May the sheriff charge a storage fee for keeping a vehicle until the true owner can be determined, or the court finds the vehicle has been abandoned and is subject to forfeiture as a vehicle used in the transportation of contraband? What dollar amount can be charged daily and by what statutory authority?

A If the court orders the vehicle forfeited, then the vehicle may be forfeited or transferred to the sheriff’s department or to a police department pursuant to Section 41-29-181(7). In the event the vehicle is sold, it is sold subject to deduction of all storage, court costs and expenses of liquidation. If the court decides the vehicle is not subject to forfeiture and should be released to the owner, the court would decide whether storage fees would be allowed and in what amount, if any. (Attorney General’s Opinion to Jones dated September 25, 2009)