(1) The return of the sheriff aforesaid to the clerk of the circuit court shall be taken and considered as the state’s petition or libel in rem for the forfeiture of the property therein described, of which the circuit court of the county shall have jurisdiction without regard to value. The said return shall be sufficient as said petition or libel notwithstanding the fact that it may contain no formal prayer or demand for forfeiture, it being the intention of the Legislature that forfeiture may be decreed without a formal prayer or demand therefor. The said return shall be subject to amendment at any time before final hearing, provided that copies thereof shall be served upon all persons, firms or corporations who may have filed a claim prior to such amendment.
(2) Upon the filing of said return the clerk of the circuit court shall issue a citation, directed to all persons, firms and corporations owning, having or claiming an interest in or a lien upon the seized property, giving notice of the seizure and directing that all persons, firms or corporations owning, having or claiming an interest therein or lien thereon, to file their claim to, on, or in said property within the time fixed in said citation, as to persons, firms and corporations not personally served, and within 20 days from personal service of said citation, when personal service is had. Personal service shall be made on all parties, in Florida, having liens noted upon a certificate of title as shown by the records in the office of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
(3) The said citation may be in, or substantially in, the following form:
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE ____ JUDICIAL CIRCUIT, IN AND FOR ____ COUNTY, FLORIDA.
IN RE FORFEITURE OF THE FOLLOWING DESCRIBED PROPERTY:
(Here describe property)
THE STATE OF FLORIDA TO:
ALL PERSONS, FIRMS AND CORPORATIONS OWNING, HAVING OR CLAIMING AN INTEREST IN OR LIEN ON THE ABOVE DESCRIBED PROPERTY.
YOU AND EACH OF YOU are hereby notified that the above described property has been seized, under and by virtue of chapter ____, Laws of Florida, and is now in the possession of the sheriff of this county, and you, and each of you, are hereby further notified that a petition, under said chapter, has been filed in the Circuit Court of the ____ Judicial Circuit, in and for ____ County, Florida, seeking the forfeiture of the said property, and you are hereby directed and required to file your claim, if any you have, and show cause, on or before ____, (year) , if not personally served with process herein, and within 20 days from personal service if personally served with process herein, why the said property should not be forfeited pursuant to said chapter ____, Laws of Florida, 1955. Should you fail to file claim as herein directed judgment will be entered herein against you in due course. Persons not personally served with process may obtain a copy of the petition for forfeiture filed herein from the undersigned clerk of court.
WITNESS my hand and the seal of the above mentioned court, at ____ Florida, this ____, (year) .
(Clerk of the above-mentioned Court.)
By (Deputy Clerk)
(4) Such citation shall be returnable, as to persons served constructively, as therein directed, not less than 21 nor more than 30 days, from the posting or publication thereof, and as to personally served with process within 20 days from service thereof. A copy of the petition shall be served with the process when personally served. Personal service of process may be made in the same manner as a summons in chancery.
(5) If the value of the property seized is shown by the sheriff’s return to have an appraised value of $1,000 or less, the above citation shall be served by posting at three public places in the county, one of which shall be the front door of the courthouse; if the value of the property is shown by the sheriff’s return to have an approximate value of more than $1,000, the citation shall be published at least once each week for 2 consecutive weeks in some newspaper of general publication published in the county, if there be such a newspaper published in the county and if not, then said notice of such publication shall be made by certificate of the clerk if publication is made by posting, and by affidavit as provided in chapter 50, if made by publication in a newspaper, which affidavit or certificate shall be filed and become a part of the record in the cause. Failure of the record to show proof of such publication shall not affect any judgment made in the cause unless it shall affirmatively appear that no such publication was made.