(515 ILCS 5/1-215) (from Ch. 56, par. 1-215)
    Sec. 1-215. Illegal fishing devices; public nuisance. Every fishing device, including seines, nets, or traps, or any electrical device or any other devices, including vehicles, watercraft, or aircraft, used or operated illegally or attempted to be used or operated illegally by any person in taking, transporting, holding, or conveying any aquatic life contrary to this Code, including administrative rules, shall be deemed a public nuisance and therefore illegal and subject to seizure and confiscation by any authorized employee of the Department. Upon the seizure of such an item the Department shall take and hold the item until disposed of as provided in this Code.
    Upon the seizure of any device because of its illegal use, the officer or authorized employee of the Department making the seizure shall, as soon as reasonably possible, cause a complaint to be filed before the Circuit Court and a summons to be issued requiring the owner or person in possession of the property to appear in court and show cause why the device seized should not be forfeited to the State. Upon the return of the summons duly served or upon posting or publication of notice as provided in this Code, the court shall proceed to determine the question of the illegality of the use of the seized property. Upon judgment being entered to the effect that the property was illegally used, an order shall be entered providing for the forfeiture of the seized property to the State. The owner of the property, however, may have a jury determine the illegality of its use, and shall have the right of an appeal as in other civil cases. Confiscation or forfeiture shall not preclude or mitigate against prosecution and assessment of penalties provided in Section 20-35 of this Code.
    Upon seizure of any property under circumstances supporting a reasonable belief that the property was abandoned, lost, stolen, or otherwise illegally possessed or used contrary to this Code, except property seized during a search or arrest, and ultimately returned, destroyed, or otherwise disposed of under order of a court in accordance with this Code, the authorized employee of the Department shall make reasonable inquiry and efforts to identify and notify the owner or other person entitled to possession of the property and shall return the property after the person provides reasonable and satisfactory proof of his or her ownership or right to possession and reimburses the Department for all reasonable expenses of custody. If the identity or location of the owner or other person entitled to possession of the property has not been ascertained within 6 months after the Department obtains possession, the Department shall effectuate the sale of the property for cash to the highest bidder at a public auction. The owner or other person entitled to possession of the property may claim and recover possession of the property at any time before its sale at public auction upon providing reasonable and satisfactory proof of ownership or right of possession and reimbursing the Department for all reasonable expenses of custody.
    Any property forfeited to the State by court order under this Section may be disposed of by public auction, except that any property that is the subject of a court order shall not be disposed of pending appeal of the order. The proceeds of the sales at auction shall be deposited in the Wildlife and Fish Fund.
    The Department shall pay all costs of posting or publication of notices required by this Section.
    Property seized or forfeited under this Section is subject to reporting under the Seizure and Forfeiture Reporting Act.
(Source: P.A. 100-512, eff. 7-1-18.)