In a criminal case often times evidence is collected from the defendant. Depending on the type of case and how the defendant was taken into custody, which could mean any items you have on your person at the time of arrest, or items from your vehicle or home. In some cases, the police might have property that does contain evidence, and thus they will want to make sure they get everything of evidentiary value. On a computer this might be e-mail, photographs, videos or text documents, phones may have text messages, voicemails, or photographs. While you may know that there is nothing that relates to your case in evidence, the police often times don’t and will not release your property to you. A frequent question that we get is “when can I get my stuff back?”
Like most questions in the legal sphere, is no blanket answer to that question. There are a variety of factors that come into play such as, were you the person the police were investigating, what items were taken, is it likely the items taken can be viewed as evidence? It is difficult getting ahold of the right officers, or tracking down who you need to speak with and that is often times an area that a criminal attorney can help with. In general, the police typically are not inclined to return property until the case has been resolved. Since some cases can take months, or even years, to resolve, that is not always ideal.
Some items are easier to have released then others. For example, if you had a social security card or a drivers license taken, often times an attorney will be able to have that released quickly. Items such as computers, cellphones, external hard drivers, or other electronics are less likely to be released, and if they are arranged to be released, often times they will have to have a memory dump preformed, or have someone go through their content. Additionally, large sums of cash will sometimes be held during the pendency of the case. In most situations, once a large sum of cash has been taken into custody, you will be required to prove that it was obtained legally.
If you have questions about how to obtain your property from police custody, contact an attorney for questions and assistance.