Rights when it comes to seized property in New Jersey

On Behalf of | Aug 5, 2021 | Criminal Defense

When any law enforcement agency in New Jersey legally seizes your property as evidence for a suspected crime, they should give it back to you the way they took it after the case is over. However, there are situations where the government can refuse to give you your property back. Read on to learn more about your rights and what you can do when your assets are seized.

What constitutes seizure in New Jersey?

Seizure is when police officers or other legal authorities take possession of your property. For example, the FBI or any other law enforcement agency can seize your bank account, preventing you from using the funds that you have in there, or officers can take physical assets that they believe to be evidence. When this happens, working closely with a criminal defense attorney may help you get back your property.

How can you get seized property back?

When federal or state government law enforcement takes your property, it should be returned to you in its rightful condition. If the asset seized is a piece of evidence for a criminal proceeding, you will need to succeed in that trial or prove that the property has no use in that case. If the police need that asset as evidence against other people in criminal proceedings, you will have to wait until those trials are done too.

There are situations where the police may seize your property without any criminal charges filed against you. When this happens, the police should return your assets voluntarily. If they refuse, you should file a petition to force them to give your property back.

On the other hand, if the government chooses to forfeit your asset, then you could be out of options for getting your assets back. Police officers might put a public auction on your property where you can purchase it back. However, if they donate or use your assets in their endeavors, it could be very unfortunate for you.

When seizing your property, the law enforcement agency involved will give you a document containing the officers’ identities taking part in the seizure, items that were taken, etc. Keep this document safe because you will need it when getting back your items.

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