How Can I Get Seized Property and Money Back?

If you were charged with a crime, the police may seize money and property found on your person. However, as an Evansville criminal defense lawyer, police officers can seize assets even without charging you with a crime – on the grounds that they were proceeds from a crime or used to commit a crime. The question is: how can you recover seized property and money?

Let us explain the main reasons why police will seize various types of property and how a lawyer can help you recover it.

The Civil Forfeiture Law in Indiana or “Policing for Profit”

One of the specific difficulties in getting seized property back in Indiana is the civil forfeiture law. The law gives law enforcement officers the right to seize goods if they have reasonable cause to believe that they are the result of a crime or used to commit or with the intention to commit a crime.

In some cases, simply having a large amount of cash in your car may be interpreted as probable cause. And while until recently all proceeds from civil forfeiture went to a fund for schools, a decision made by the Indiana Supreme Court in 2019 allows police departments to use the money for their purposes.

Critics of the law affirm that this is equal to offering police officers an incentive to increase civil forfeiture seizures.

Reasons Why Police May Seize Assets and Money

Police officers may seize money and assets for various reasons, not only under the civil forfeiture law. The most common situations involve:

Evidence of a Crime

When you are charged with a crime and arrested, police officers may frisk you and seize various items they may use as evidence. For example, if you are charged with unlawful gun use, any firearm found in your possession will be seized.

In this case, the property will be kept in police custody until the end of your case, as it will be presented in court as evidence if the case goes to trial.

the police can seize goods even without charging you with a crime


Items labeled as contraband are those you are not supposed to own legally, such as drug paraphernalia and controlled substances. The fact that you are in possession of these products is a crime.

However, if you can prove that you have a valid prescription issued by a doctor for the controlled substances, an experienced Evansville criminal defense lawyer will make sure that they are returned to you.

Safe Keeping

The police may seize money and valuables for safe keeping after a theft or a traffic stop resulting in the driver’s arrest. After the matter is cleared up, they will be returned to the rightful owner.

However, your lawyer will constantly petition the police for the return of your property, because unclaimed items may end up being subject to civil forfeiture.

Can You Contest Civil Forfeiture?

As the situations explained above indicate, civil forfeiture is the worst-case scenario. You may not even be charged with a crime, which makes it hard to file a petition for the return of the seized property. In some cases, this action may result in specific charges being filed against you.

If the state files a forfeiture claim, the attorney will represent you in court to have it dismissed, so that you can recover your property!

Talk to an Evansville Criminal Defense Lawyer If Your Property Is Seized!

Police seizure of money, vehicle or other goods is a serious matter. You may lose your property with no chance of recovery if you do not hire an Evansville criminal defense lawyer to act on your behalf.

Do not waste valuable time – call us as soon as possible after police seize your property to schedule a free case review at 812-247-6453!

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