Return Of Property

Property Taken As Evidence (Seized) By Police

In Most criminal cases, property taken as evidence including stolen property is usually not returned to its owner until after the court case and appeals are finished.

You have the right to have your property that was taken as evidence (seized) by police returned to you [Section 54-36a]. A hearing will be held on a date that the defendant is scheduled to be in court to decide if the property taken as evidence will be held until the end of the criminal case or returned to its owner. If there is more than one defendant, a hearing must be held for each court case.

If the crime is not being prosecuted and your property is being held as evidence, you must contact the prosecutor and ask him or her to file a written motion with the court to have your property returned to you.

You may call the Clerk’s Office in the court where the case is being heard for updates on the status of having your property returned.

Stolen Property Or Money Taken As Evidence

If the police took as evidence your stolen property or money that was not stolen, the police will fill out a Receipt For Seized Property and Advisement of Rights Seized Property form (JD-CR-42) that lists the property seized, the total amount of money seized, or both.

The police will give or mail a copy of this form to you. If you do not get a copy of this form, please ask the police for a copy.

You will need to fill out Section C of this form and return it to the police department to request:

  • the immediate return of your stolen property; or
  • a hearing to have money that was not stolen but being held as evidence returned to you.

The court may order that the property or money be returned to you within 30 days of the date you filed the form, unless the court finds that the property or money is needed as evidence for the criminal case.

If you do not file Section C of form JD-CR-42 with the police, the court may order your property be returned to you at the end of the criminal case.

If the court orders your property be returned to you, you can call the police department to find out when your property or money will be ready for pickup at the police station. If you do not pick up your property within 6 months from the date of the court order, the property may be destroyed or given to a charitable, educational, or a government organization.

Property That Cannot Be Returned

The court may not return certain property including property that:

  • has biohazard materials on it, for example blood. This is because it may be a health risk to you or to other people;
  • is illegal, such as drugs or weapons (contraband);
  • are controlled drugs and things used to make, take, or hide drugs (drug paraphernalia);
  • was used to commit the crime. You will not be paid for that property (forfeited) even if you did not commit the crime.

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