St Louis, MO asked in Criminal Law and Civil Rights for Illinois

Q: Why cannot get things back after my case was dismissed in court?

I had been unlawfully arrested in Saint Claire, County, Illinois, United States. During this process they kept my laptop, and most of my belongings that was in my friends truck. Since that arrest my case was dismissed. Now why cannot not have my things back?

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: I'm sorry to hear about your experience with an unlawful arrest and the difficulties you're facing in retrieving your belongings. There could be a few reasons why you haven't been able to get your things back, even though your case was dismissed:

1. Property being held as evidence: Even if your case was dismissed, the police may still be holding your belongings as evidence for other ongoing investigations or potential future legal proceedings.

2. Administrative backlog: There might be a backlog in the police department or the court system, causing delays in the process of returning your property.

3. Lack of proper documentation: You may need to provide specific documentation to prove ownership of the items and formally request their return.

4. Civil forfeiture: In some cases, law enforcement may attempt to keep your property through a process called civil forfeiture, even if you were not convicted of a crime.

To address this issue, you can take the following steps:

1. Contact the police department or the court where your case was handled and inquire about the process for retrieving your property.

2. Provide any necessary documentation to prove ownership of the items you are seeking to retrieve.

3. If you face resistance or believe your property is being unlawfully withheld, consider seeking the assistance of a lawyer who specializes in civil rights or criminal defense. They can help you navigate the legal system and advocate for the return of your belongings.

Remember to be persistent and document all your communications with the authorities to help support your case.

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