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Defendant Bring a Motion for Return of His Vehicle


The plaintiff and claiming authority in this case is Christine Malafi. Malafi is the County Attorney for the County of Suffolk in New York. The defendants in the matter are Richard J. Hartman, Daimler Chrysler Financial Services of America, LLC, and a 2002 Dodge with the VIN number ID7H18Z92J20663. The case is being heard in the Supreme Court of the State of New York located in Suffolk County.

Case Background

A New York Criminal Lawyer said this case is a civil forfeiture preceding that involves a 2002 Dodge with the VIN number ID7H18Z92J20663. The plaintiff, Christine Malafi, the Suffolk County Attorney is seeking forfeiture of this vehicle from the owner, defendant Richard J. Hartman. Daimler Chrysler Financial Services of America, LLC is the lien holder of the vehicle.

Case Facts

The defendant, Richard J. Hartman was arrested on the 12th of November, 2005. A New York Criminal Lawyer said he was charged with driving while intoxicated. At the time of his arrest, Hartmann submitted to a breathalyzer test and his BAC was 0.147%.

Prior to this arrest, the defendant had been arrested and convicted of driving while intoxicated on the 7th of September, 2000.

At the time of his second arrest for driving while intoxicated, his vehicle was taken into custody according to Chapter 270, Article IV, of the Suffolk County Code. Hartman was charged with the felony complaint of driving while intoxicate. He pled guilty to operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol on the 7th of May, 2006.

Case Discussion

Under the Suffolk County Code it is stated that any property that is part of the offense that a person is charged with will be seized by any peace officer that is acting in regard to his/her special duties. A New York Drug Possession Lawyer said this includes any police officer that has probable cause to believe that an offense has been committed.

The title owner and all of the registrants of the vehicle that are on file with the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles will be notified of the seizure of the vehicle within five days of the vehicle being taken. This notice will inform the registrants that a hearing will be held before a neutral Magistrate to determine whether or not there is probable cause for the arrest of the defendant and if the vehicle will be retained from being sold or destroyed pending the forfeiture hearing.

The defendant was notified of the hearing that was set for the 29th of November, 2005. He requested the date of the hearing to be changed to the 13th of December, 2005. On this date the defendant and his attorney were present at the hearing. A New York Sex Crimes Lawyer said the hearing the neutral Magistrate determined that Suffolk County was entitled to remain in possession of the vehicle.

Based on the facts of the case the plaintiff has motioned for summary judgment in the matter. The defendant has made a cross motion for dismissal and for an order directing the return of his vehicle.

Court Decision

After reviewing the facts of the case it is determined that the vehicle in question was seized in a matter that is in accordance with the law. The motion for summary judgment in the case made by the plaintiff is granted and the cross motion from the defendant is denied.

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