Contrary to popular belief, assets that are seized by police are not automatically forfeited. You have the legal right to take action to attempt to regain possession of your assets. If the police has taken an asset from you, here is what you need to know.
Why Was the Asset Seized?
How successful you will be in convincing the government to return your asset depends largely on the reason for the seizure. In most instances, the reason for the seizure is stated at the time that the asset is taken. You should receive a voucher or notice that details what was taken and why.
However, if you were not provided with a reason for why your possession was taken, you need to contact the police department and ask questions. If you are unable to obtain a clear answer, contact the prosecutor's office.
How Can You Get Your Asset Back?
What steps you take next depend on the reason for the seizure. If the seizure was for safekeeping, you should be able to show your voucher or notice to the clerk at the location your item is being stored at and regain possession of it.
In some instances, you could be required to present proof of ownership before you can retrieve the item. For instance, if your car was taken, you might be required to show your registration or title before you can have the car returned.
If the asset was taken as evidence in an investigation, you will need to receive permission from the prosecutor to have your possession returned. The prosecutor might delay the return of the item until after your case is completed. Depending on how your case proceeds, it could be months before this occurs.
Even if you believe that the prosecutor will not release your item, you should send the office a written demand letter for your asset. The prosecutor has to respond to your request within a certain period of time. The time allowed varies by state.
If the prosecutor refuses to return your item, your attorney can request a hearing with the court to evaluate whether or not the prosecutor has the legal right to continue to keep your belongings. During the hearing, your attorney can present evidence or testimony to challenge the seizure. If the judge decides in your favor, the prosecutor must return your asset.
Consult with a criminal law attorney to map out your strategy for getting the prosecutor to return your possession. Click for more information.Share