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Defendant Claims Car Seized Unlawfully


In matters of law it is important to have an attorney. Most people who do not have a law degree are unfamiliar with all of the limitations that are placed in reference to legal actions. In New York, the state can seize any motor vehicle that is involved in the commission of a crime. That means that the state of New York can seize the vehicles of people who are charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. However, there are certain limitations. A New York DWI Lawyer said the owner of the vehicle must be notified within 25 days of the date of a DUI arrest. The property clerk of the police department has fifteen days beyond the last day of the 25 day limitation to commence forfeiture action. If the property clerk does not meet these deadlines, then the defendant may move to dismiss the forfeiture action and reclaim his or her property.

DUI cases are loaded with intricacies of law that can make or break the case that the state attempts to make. The reason that there are time limits on the paperwork process for forfeiture of property is obvious. The problem here is that the state can initiate this process even before the driver has been determined guilty of a crime or not guilty.

In one case that occurred on June 17, 2007 when a man’s BMW B23i was impounded as an instrument of a crime. The officers seized the vehicle after the defendant was arrested and charged with several statutory offenses and traffic law violations. A New York DWI Lawyer said the defendant was charged with several offenses, one of which was DUI. On July 21, 2009, the man made a demand for his vehicle to be returned to him. The property clerk refused and advised the man that his request was invalid because he did not submit a release from the District Attorney. In September of 2009, the property clerk filed a summons and obtained a complaint number to begin the process of seizure of the vehicle. On December 3, 2009, the property clerk mailed a summons and proof of service with the court on December 7, 2009. On December 17, 2009 the service was deemed completed.

A Queens Criminal Lawyer said the defendant filed a motion to set aside the forfeiture because notice was not provided in a timely fashion. Because the property clerk had not sent notice of the intent to seize the vehicle until three months after the vehicle was seized, the defense argued that the seizure was not legal and that the vehicle had to be returned to him.

After reviewing the arguments of the state and the defense, the court determined that the property clerk had not filed the paperwork within the time limit. A Nassau County Criminal Lawyer said the property clerk should have served the paperwork within the twenty-five day required window. The property clerk would have then had fifteen additional days to complete the service and take action to retain the vehicle. The fact that it was not done within this required time frame, means that the action is in fact illegal. The request of the defense to overturn the forfeiture of the car and to restore it to its owner is overturned. The request for dismissal of the forfeiture warrant is dismissed and the vehicle will be returned to the owner.

Whenever a seizure of property is made by the state, there are many specific guidelines that must be adhered to. If the state fails to meet their burdens within the prescribed time frames, the property must be returned to the rightful owner. At Stephen Bilkis & Associates one can find NY Criminal Lawyers who will defend anyone arrested of a crime in New York. We have convenient offices throughout New York and the Metropolitan area. There is no reason to risk your driving privileges. A New York DUI Lawyer can represent you in court against charges of DUI. Without an NY DUI Lawyer, you can lose your driver’s license and your freedom.

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