There are five main reasons that your property may be held by the New York Police Department, Nassau County Police Department, Suffolk County Police Department, and law enforcement agencies throughout New York: SAFEKEEPING:
Your property can be taken because it is valuable; for example, they might take your money, a car, cell phone, jewelry, or clothing, for safekeeping FORFEITURE:
Law enforcement believes that it was used or obtained in the course of criminal activity, and therefore believes they can keep the property.
Evidence that is related to an ongoing case. Property that it is illegal to possess.
Law enforcement has reason to believe that the property will provide evidence of a crime.
This article addresses investigatory evidence and the ways in which immediately contacting an attorney as soon as your property is being held as investigatory evidence is a good choice. Generally, arrest evidence must be returned to its owner—although the NYPD and other law enforcement didn’t come up with this policy on its own. It had to be sued into doing so.
A LEGAL GREY AREA THAT THE NYPD OFTEN EXPLOITS:
Investigatory evidence is in a legal gray area—and left unchecked, NYPD detectives exploit this to aid them in attempting to build a case again you or a loved one. Essentially, investigatory evidence is property that the NYPD and other law enforcement hold because they are investigating a crime—even crimes that you have not committed, such as a car, or other valuable property.
Very often law enforcement will invite the property owner to come in and visit the police precinct or station. They'll tell you that you're not in trouble and they just want to talk. Again, this is a ploy to ensnare the unwary. This is usually a trap that can be avoided by picking up the phone and calling an attorney. You have rights—however, it is not law enforcement’s job to point those out to you. As a result, you may be stepping into a minefield that can be avoided by getting the legal representation you need and deserve.
WHY CONTACT AN ATTORNEY FOR INVESTIGATORY EVIDENCE RETURN, IS IT WORTH IT?
Law enforcement officers, detectives, and other crime fighters have a job to do. They've developed tactics that work. If law enforcement believes that your property, such as a car, has been used in a crime by you or someone you know--they have every reason in the world to speak to you directly. The best way to do that is to lure you to the precinct to pick up your property.
It's always best to avoid interaction with law enforcement and preserve your rights by relying on legal counsel to protect you from self-incrimination, accidental incrimination, or throwing away legal protective rights you do know you have. It is highly advisable, at the very least, to consult with an attorney in these kinds of situations.
If you are confronted by property that is being held as investigatory evidence in Nassau County, New York, or in New York City, Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island, or Queens, contact Attorney Victor M. Feraru for a free consultation right away.