19-6. Civil penalty; forfeiture; accounting; lien as to expenses of abatement; invalidation of lease.

Lewd matter is contraband, and there are no property rights therein. All personal property, including all money and other considerations, declared to be a nuisance under the provisions of G.S. 19-1.3 and other sections of this Article, are subject to forfeiture to the local government and are recoverable as damages in the county wherein such matter is sold, exhibited or otherwise used. Such property including moneys may be traced to and shall be recoverable from persons who, under G.S. 19-2.4, have knowledge of the nuisance at the time such moneys are received by them.

Upon judgment against the defendant or defendants in legal proceedings brought pursuant to this Article, an accounting shall be made by such defendant or defendants of all moneys received by them which have been declared to be a nuisance under this Article. An amount equal to the sum of all moneys estimated to have been taken in as gross income from such unlawful commercial activity shall be forfeited to the general funds of the city and county governments wherein such activity took place, to be shared equally, as a forfeiture of the fruits of an unlawful enterprise, and as partial restitution for damages done to the public welfare; provided, however, that no provision of this Article shall authorize the recovery of any moneys or gross income received from the sale of any book, magazine, or exhibition of any motion picture prior to the issuance of a preliminary injunction. Where the action is brought pursuant to this Article, special injury need not be proven, and the costs of abatement are a lien on both the real and personal property used in maintaining the nuisance. Costs of abatement include, but are not limited to, reasonable attorney's fees and court costs.

Upon the filing of the action, the plaintiff may file a notice of lis pendens in the official records of the county where the property is located.

If it is judicially found after an adversary hearing pursuant to this Article that a tenant or occupant of a building or tenement, under a lawful title, uses such place for the purposes of lewdness, assignation, prostitution, gambling, sale or possession of illegal alcoholic beverages or substances proscribed under the North Carolina Controlled Substances Act, or repeated acts which create and constitute a breach of the peace, such use makes void the lease or other title under which he holds, at the option of the owner, and, without any act of the owner, causes the right of possession to revert and vest in such owner.

The clear proceeds of civil penalties and forfeitures provided for in this section, except for penalties and properties that accrue to local governments instead of the State, shall be remitted to the Civil Penalty and Forfeiture Fund in accordance with G.S. 115C-457.2. (Pub. Loc. 1913, c. 761, s. 30; 1919, c. 288; C.S., s. 3185; 1977, c. 819, s. 7; 1981, c. 412, s. 4; c. 747, s. 66; 1998-215, s. 106; 1999-371, s. 9.)