Surgere
 member, 26 posts
 Rise
Sun 2 Dec 2018
at 20:57
Legal Advice?
Iím young In the grand scheme of things being only recently legally able to purchase alcohol, so I was hoping you guys could offer some input...

 I was charged with a felony and arrested at my friends step moms apartment. She was not present, however the police still searched the apartment. Basically no one was present who could give them permission to search to the apartment, and when I was in the apartment they did not enter because they did not have a search warrant (as far as I know). However when I went to my car with my friend they rushed us from nowhere and I was taken in. Once I arrived at the station they asked me about a case that was completely separate from what I was arrested for. They also seized my phone, along with a bullet proof vest, ar15, laptop, and assorted ammunition for various firearms. None of this property had anything to do with what I was initially arrested for but rather a separate investigation. After 5 months of county I was released and only a few days ago I was able to finally sign a plea deal for misdemeanor (they had no evidence) and now Iím trying to get my property back. My lawyer was unable to help me because the property is being held for a separate case so they wouldnít even speak with her. I called asking for it to be released before my one case was complete and the detective refused to release it. Now however my one case is wrapped up so Iím calling  the police department Monday to ask again if they will release it back to me since the case I was charged with is resolved.

My question is what should I do if they refuse too? Can I do anything? I know technically they have up to like 5yrs to hold onto property before they have to release it to me but they never had any search warrants or permission to seize it in the first place, as the only thing on ky person when arrested was my phone, everything else was in the apartment and they never showed a search warrant and since the step mom wasnít there no one at the scene could have given them permission to search the apartment.

Thanks for any and all advice, I donít have much money for a lawyer but I was going to look into possibly getting one.
bigbadron
 moderator, 15671 posts
 He's big, he's bad,
 but mostly he's Ron.
Sun 2 Dec 2018
at 21:04
Legal Advice?
My advice: get a lawyer, and don't ask random people on the internet for help.  Free legal advice is often worth less than you paid for it.
azzuri
 member, 360 posts
Sun 2 Dec 2018
at 21:12
Legal Advice?
Police, and government entities, are notorious for taking/impounding stuff (cars especially), not releasing it, and maybe ending up making money from it.

Ron is right. Get a lawyer.
Talon
 member, 382 posts
Sun 2 Dec 2018
at 21:35
Legal Advice?
Way to many countries present on RPOL to get any meaningful advice here, even in the US the laws can vary so much from state to state that if you're a US citizen you won't get much help from your fellow countrymen. Best go the lawyer route as suggested!
horus
 member, 615 posts
 Wayfarer of the
 Western Wastes
Sun 2 Dec 2018
at 22:11
Legal Advice?
Yes, what so many others have said, but let me amplify:

Please get another lawyer to review your cases.  It may be your present attorney is overloaded (especially if she is a Public Defender), and may have overlooked aspects of your case.  A second legal opinion may uncover matters worth pursuing in your defense.

That's the only legal advice I could give that might be worth anything, except, maybe, this:

When you do speak to a new attorney (indeed, to any attorney working for you), answer all questions truthfully (one should never lie to nor prevaricate with one's attorney), and consider well what you are told in reply.  Ask questions about anything which you are hesitant or uncomfortable about.

When the time comes and you go to court, obey your attorney's instructions as if your life depended on your obedience.
DaCuseFrog
 member, 28 posts
 SW Florida
Sun 2 Dec 2018
at 22:35
Legal Advice?
I would have to concur about contacting a lawyer, but here are a few things to consider.  First, the unrelated case about which they questioned you:  did it involve someone who lived at the apartment?  Second, do you have proof of ownership for the items?  (I don't need the answers, just things for you to bring up with a lawyer if you contact one.)

The problem arises from civil asset forfeiture.  Cops can take what they want and auction it off.  All they have to claim is that they suspect the property may have been used in furtherance of a crime.  It doesn't matter if the owner is guilty of a crime or even charged with one.  There are horror stories all over the internet about this all too common practice.

But contact a lawyer.  Just be prepared for the possibility of a battle against the police.  They want to keep your stuff to sell it, because it's valuable.
ShadoPrism
 member, 1248 posts
 OCGD-Obsessive-Compulsive
 Gamer-Disorder
Sun 2 Dec 2018
at 23:47
Legal Advice?
Something everyone here stateted was 'get a lawyer'. But it was already stated They Have ONE.
My question, is the lawyer you already have a court appointed one or one you / your family hired ?
If she is court appointed then I suggest getting an independant lawyer, also look up a lawyers history and specialities. Not all lawyers are compedent in all area's of law.
IF this happened in the US you do have a case for illegal search and seizure which can be very bad for the local police who did this. But again you need a lawyer who has experience in this area or your just barking up a tree in a forest of confusion.
hegemon
 member, 165 posts
Mon 3 Dec 2018
at 00:05
Legal Advice?
I pulled this from a Wiki, but it is a pretty good summary of what sounds like happened to you. The initial crime which you were accused of committing allowed them a reasonable excuse to claim probable cause. The property is believed to be either assets gained or involved with criminal activities. In most states, the burden of proof on this type of case lies with the owner. There is no presumed innocence only a preponderous of the evidence. Again, the best bet is to get a lawyer that is skilled in this type of case. Some lawyers will take a case on contingent if there is a possible civil case.

Civil forfeiture in the United States, also called civil asset forfeiture or civil judicial forfeiture or occasionally civil seizure, is a legal process in which law enforcement officers take assets from persons suspected of involvement with crime or illegal activity without necessarily charging the owners with wrongdoing. While civil procedure, as opposed to criminal procedure, generally involves a dispute between two private citizens, civil forfeiture involves a dispute between law enforcement and property such as a pile of cash or a house or a boat, such that the thing is suspected of being involved in a crime. To get back the seized property, owners must prove it was not involved in criminal activity. Sometimes it can mean a threat to seize property as well as the act of seizure itself
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1433 posts
Mon 3 Dec 2018
at 00:37
Legal Advice?
In reply to DaCuseFrog (msg # 6):

Be careful with claims about what cops can and can't do. They might be allowed to do that where you are, but we don't know what country the OP is in, and the rules might work differently there.

For example, if it was the US, then all evidence from the apartment would be unusable in court since it was illegally obtained (however, it should be noted that the apartment owner need not be there to give the police permission to enter). But that may not be true for other countries.

Since we do not know the country the OP is from, we can't say what applies to the OP, so we should at least tag any remarks about legalities with the country/state/region where such legalities exist.
Dgorjones
 member, 67 posts
Mon 3 Dec 2018
at 13:17
Legal Advice?
Okay, there's a lot of potentially inaccurate amateur legal advice being thrown around here.  I am a lawyer (criminal defense specialty, in fact) and I'm going to repeat the most accurate advice in this thread: hire a lawyer!  Asking for free legal advice over an RPG forum is a recipe for disaster.  A competent attorney is highly unlikely to actually give advice here if for no other reason than there is no reason to expose themselves to a potential malpractice claim if they slip up without any financial justification to do so.  Free advice is worth just about what you pay for it.

The answer to the OP's question is highly dependent on the jurisdiction in which the search occurred.  Assuming it happened in the United States, the answer likely varies by state.  I can say that strictly based on the information provided by the OP and assuming it occurred in the jurisdiction in which I practice, the search of the apartment was probably legal (with respect to the OP; the residents of the apartment may be able to challenge the search if seized evidence were used to prosecute them).  I'd want to ask a lot of follow-up questions before giving a firm opinion on that.

I also would not rely on the quote from Wikileaks concerning civil asset forfeiture.  The law in that area will also vary by state.  The quote says the property owner has the burden of proof to show the property was not used to commit or obtained through criminal activity.  I suspect in most jurisdictions the government bears the burden of proof in a civil asset forfeiture proceeding.

Talk to a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction.  Would you ask random strangers on the internet for advice on how to remove your appendix by yourself?  The consequences of relying on free amateur legal advice from the internet are probably not as severe as performing surgery on yourself, but a bad outcome is similarly predictable.
azzuri
 member, 361 posts
Mon 3 Dec 2018
at 14:04
Re: Legal Advice?

This message was deleted by a moderator, as it was against the forum rules, at 18:08, Mon 03 Dec 2018.

bigbadron
 moderator, 15672 posts
 He's big, he's bad,
 but mostly he's Ron.
Mon 3 Dec 2018
at 17:51
Re: Legal Advice?
And on that note, I think this thread has run its course.