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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013

    Default Do the Police Have to Return Equipment Seized in a Criminal Investigation

    My question involves police conduct in the State of: Alabama

    My question is can the police seize my property and not return it to my without filing charges against me associated with those items?

    The Whole Story: I was enrolled at a state college in Alabama. I was making fake Ids for fellow students, yes it was wrong and I am very sorry I did it. I was 17 at the time. Health and Safety did an unscheduled inspection of my apartment and reported my operation to the campus police. The police came and searched my room and changed the lock on my door and left a note for me to report to the police station. I panicked, used a knife, and opened the door. I grabbed some clothes and my laptop and took off. The campus police then got a search warrant for my apartment and took all my electronics, PC, TV, stereo, video game console, printers, and id card printer. After thinking about it a while I decided I had to turn myself in. I did and I was arrested for criminal mischief for the damage to the apartment door. I went to juvenile court and they said they were going to charge me as an adult since I was almost 18 , but if I plead guilty to the criminal mischief and paid the $50 damage for the door they would let it go as a juvenile case. Later I asked the police for my items back and they told me that they were not going to give me my items back because they had been used in a crime. The officer said that making fake Ids was a federal crime and it would be federal charges he said they could still charge me but he didn't want to do that but he would if he needed to. The items they took were very valuable and I tried to negotiate with them and asked them to keep the id printer and the hard drives from my computers and give me the rest but they would not give it back. I did something wrong and I am very sorry. I got kicked out of school and that cost me and my parents a little of $14,000+ and I can see the schools point for doing that but the police keeping my stuff and that seems like theft.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010

    Default Re: Can the College Police Seize My Property and Not Return It Without Filing Charges

    If they have a search warrant, that's ALL they need. They can indeed hold the evidence pending crimes.
    Breaking the door is a completely separate issue from operating a false ID factory.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005

    Default Re: Can the College Police Seize My Property and Not Return It Without Filing Charges

    If the items were seized pursuant to a search warrant than only the court can order the release of these items. The police cannot release items seized on a search warrant without an order from the court, so you will have to go there. And the court is not likely to release anything until all potential cases have been evaluated for charging ... that might mean you won't get anything back until the statute of limitations has passed, and that could take a few years.

    But, it doesn't hurt to ask. And, if it is worth it to you, you might consider engaging an attorney to assist you.
    Retired Cal Cop Sergeant & Teacher

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Can the College Police Seize My Property and Not Return It Without Filing Charges

    If the items were used as the instrumentality of a crime, it's quite possible that you won't be seeing them again.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2011

    Default Re: Do the Police Have to Return Equipment Seized in a Criminal Investigation

    Lets explain the basics to you. When you commit a crime for money. Use the money to buy nice toys. Get caught. They seize the money and toys because they were purchased from money earned in the commission of criminal acts. If they did not seize them, you would likely go get an apartment near another college and set up shop again, thinking crime pays.

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