There are five main reasons that your property may be held by the New York 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 believe they can keep the property.
ARREST EVIDENCE: Evidence that is related to an ongoing case. CONTRABAND: Property that it is illegal to possess. INVESTIGATORY EVIDENCE: 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. 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. 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.