If you are pulled over for DUI and the circumstances of the stop lead to the search of your vehicle, any illegal substance found during the search is subject to seizure. Provided the stop was legal and the search resulting from that stop was lawfully performed, any contraband found will be taken by the police. Most common is the instance where money or other valuables are found in the car, then taken by the police as an “instrumentality” of the crime being charged. Items subject to forfeiture are not limited, and might even include your vehicle if the authorities believe it was used to help carry out an illegal act.
The Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act is the legal mechanism that allows for the police to take your property. Common items seized include:
● Vehicles and ATV’s
The disposition of this collateral is by auction, unless you are successful in making a case to have your property returned. What you need to do when your property is taken during an arrest for another crime is to provide proof that the things taken were not part of the alleged crime. For instance, if you are in possession of a large sum of money while arrested for a drug crime, you have to show the Court the funds were not proceeds from drug sales or a product of the drug charges against you. This can be a difficult hurdle to overcome because all the police have to show is that it is more likely than not that the item take was somehow connected to the crime being charged. It takes a thorough investigation into every small detail of the facts of your case to develop an effective strategy for return of forfeited possessions.
If you have been arrested for DUI or another crime and had property seized as a result, call our office for help. Contact us today schedule an appointment with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. The first visit is a free initial consultation.