Return of Seized Property


It is very common for law enforcement officers and agents to confiscate personal property during an arrest. There are several reasons for this course of action and, depending on the type of item confiscated, it may be possible to retrieve the property. However, property such as controlled substances will not be returned to the owner and will usually be checked into the evidence locker at the police station or will be destroyed. Some other types of property cannot be returned to the owner once they have been confiscated because they will be used in a trial to secure a conviction.

When Do Police Officers Confiscate Property?

Typically, law enforcement officers search and seize property when they feel that the items will be used in a criminal trial. This is the main reason for property confiscation, and the illegal possession of the property is usually the cause of the arrest. When someone illegally possesses this type of property, the property is known as contraband, and it cannot be returned to the owner.

Items That are Confiscated the Most

Another type of property confiscation is known as forfeiture. When certain items are used in the commission of a crime, the items will be legally forfeited into the custody of law enforcement. Such items typically include:

  • Cash that was gained from selling illegal drugs
  • Illegal weapons and vehicles that have been stolen.

One of the most common types of property confiscation is performed for the safekeeping of the items being confiscated. This is most often done at the scene of an arrest or when someone is being checked into the custody of a jail. These items are usually found on the person of the individual under arrest and often include:

  • Small amounts of money
  • Jewelry
  • Cell phones
  • Certain articles of clothing

These types of property are generally the easiest to retrieve after an arrest has been made.

How to Retrieve Confiscated Property

In order to retrieve confiscated property after an arrest, there are certain steps that must be followed. When someone is booked into jail and their personal belongings are confiscated for safekeeping, the jail clerk will secure their items into storage and catalog the items according to the name of the owner. They will then present the owner with a voucher or receipt to ensure that all of the property is accounted for.

To retrieve this property after being released from custody, the owner must present proper identification as well as their voucher to the jail clerk. The items will then be released from secure storage.

For more information about property retrieval after an arrest, speak to Mario Madrid at 713-877-9400.

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