What Do Police Do with Seized Money and Property?

Many people contact an Evansville criminal defense lawyer saying that a police officer seized cash or even their vehicle: They were not accused of any crime, but they were informed that the seized property was used in the commission of a crime. This type of seizure is possible under the civil forfeiture law in Indiana.

Let us explain how this law works and what happens to seized assets and money.

What Is the Civil Forfeiture Law in Indiana?

Under the civil forfeiture act, police officers can seize cash and any type of property that is used to commit or attempt to commit a crime. The same is applicable if police officers have probable cause to believe that the assets represent the proceeds of a crime.

For this reason, whenever police officers stop a car for any reason (a DUI check, for instance), they will routinely ask the driver if they are carrying large amounts of cash. Based on other factors, the officers may seize the cash, stating that it is related to a crime.

Seized Vehicles May Be Sold or Used by Police Department

Now, let us explain what happens after the police seize your car. In the guidelines related to Property Seized for Forfeiture, Indiana legislators state that there are two possible scenarios.

Seized vehicles can be sold, and the proceeds will go into a fund for schools (more on this topic later in this article). The vehicles that will be sold usually meet the following conditions:

  • Their residual value is more than $10,000 in case of federal seizures and $7,500 in case of state seizures
  • The type and condition of the car makes it ineligible to be added to the police fleet

If the car make and model and physical condition correspond to vehicles used by the police, the car will be added to the police department’s fleet. Moreover, the car must have less than 100,000 miles on the odometer.

police officers have the right to seize property resulting from a crime

What Happens to Seized Money and Assets?

If police officers seize amounts in cash or other valuables, the valuables must be kept in a safe and secure location. Once the process of civil forfeiture is completed, the money and property will be placed in a fund for schools.

However, an Indiana Supreme Court decision of 2019 determined that forfeited money can be diverted from the school fund and used for law enforcement purposes. Unfortunately, this gives police officers a vested interest in increasing the number and value of civil seizures, as they ultimately benefit from them.

How to Recover Seized Property from the Police

You must get in touch with an experienced Evansville criminal defense attorney as soon as your vehicle, cash or other valuables are seized by the police. It does not matter that you were not charged with a crime.

If you do not act quickly, your goods will go through the civil forfeiture procedure, and you will never get them back. An attorney will analyze the facts of your case and determine various defense strategies:

  • Proving that the assets were obtained in a legitimate manner
  • Indicating that more than 180 days passed after the seizure and the State did not file for forfeiture
  • The assets were seized as evidence, but no charges were filed against you
  • Fighting the forfeiture claim in court

Let Experienced Evansville Criminal Defense Lawyer Help You Recover Seized Property!

If your money or other property was seized by the police, you should start fighting for your rights as soon as possible. An experienced Evansville criminal defense lawyer will examine the facts of the case in great detail, in order to identify any error in the police procedure or other elements to use in your defense.

Do not give up your right to recover seized assets – call us today to schedule an initial free consultation at 812-247-6453!

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