If you encounter the police, they will sometimes take your property: your car, your money or other belongings. This can even happen to people who haven’t done anything wrong. When the police take your property, it’s called “asset seizure,” and it happens quite often. Here’s what you need to know.

When Can The Police Take My Things?

When the police take things, they’re often quite valuable. If this happens, stay calm. Getting angry at them won’t help you, and it might hurt you. According to the law in Florida, the police can only take your belongings if one of these things is true:

  • You bought it with money that came from a crime
  • You used it to commit a crime
  • You were involved in money laundering
  • Your business violated the Patriot Act

Changes In The Law

It used to be much easier for the police to take people’s belongings in Florida. However, that changed in 2016. Here’s what changed:

  • If the police take your property, they have to arrest you for a crime first.
  • The police must prove that the property they took was involved in a crime.
  • A court must review what the police did within 10 days. If the court thinks the police didn’t have a good reason for taking your property, you get it back within five days.
  • The police must put up $1500 to take your property. If the court gives your property back because the police were wrong to take it, you get the extra money, too.

How Can I Get My Stuff Back?

Having your assets taken by the police is serious, and getting them back is hard, but not impossible. If they’ve taken your property, it usually means they’re going to charge you with a crime.

If you think the police have taken something they shouldn’t have, you’ll need to fight back in court. In that case, the best thing to have on your side is an attorney who knows what they’re doing. That’s your best hope.

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