(1) The sheriffs and clerks of the courts of the various counties of the state are authorized at their discretion on or before September 25 of each and every year hereafter to pay into the fine and forfeiture fund of their respective counties, or the fine and forfeiture fund created under s. 142.01, any or all unclaimed moneys deposited or collected by them in their official capacity, which unclaimed moneys came into their hands prior to January 1 of the preceding year and for which moneys claim has not been made. Any unclaimed moneys collected or deposited by the clerk of the circuit court in the course of the clerk’s court-related activities may be processed under this chapter; however, the clerk must pay for the cost of publication of the list of unclaimed court-related funds. Any unclaimed court-related funds collected or deposited by the clerk which remain unclaimed must be deposited into the fine and forfeiture fund established under s. 142.01.
(2) The sheriffs and clerks of the various courts of the respective counties may, during the month of July of each year, hereafter make and compile a list of any or all unclaimed moneys which came into their hands as provided in subsection (1) above. Such compilation shall list, in addition to the name of the defendant, the respective amounts of such unclaimed moneys. Such list or compilation shall be published one time during the month of July in a newspaper of general circulation in the county served by such sheriff or clerk, and the notice shall specify that unless such moneys are claimed on or before September 1 after such publication that same shall be declared forfeited to such county. Proof of such publication shall be made by the publisher of such newspaper and shall be filed and recorded in the minutes of the county commissioners of such county.
(3) Persons having or claiming any interest in such funds or any portion of them shall file their written claims with the sheriff or clerk of the court of the county having custody of such funds within the time specified by the notice and shall make sufficient proof to the sheriff or clerk of their ownership and upon so doing shall be entitled to receive any part of the moneys so claimed. For the purposes of this section, any municipality that has a municipal detention facility and that prosecutes through its own municipal prosecutor shall have a claim against any unclaimed moneys collected due to violations of that municipality’s ordinances within the territorial jurisdiction of the county and for which a claim has not been made by the person entitled to such funds. Unless claim is filed within such time as aforesaid, all claims in reference thereto are forever barred.
(4) Except for the cost of publishing the notice for the clerk’s unclaimed court-related moneys, the cost of publishing the notices as required by subsection (2) shall be paid by the county commissioners, and the sheriff or the clerk shall receive as compensation the regular fee allowed by statute for the collection of fines, fees, and costs adjudged to the state upon the amounts remitted to the fine and forfeiture fund. Upon such payment to the fine and forfeiture fund, the sheriff or clerk shall be released and discharged from any and all further responsibility or liability in connection therewith.