Alexandria, VA asked in Civil Rights, Constitutional Law and Criminal Law for Michigan

Q: Can i sue police dept after case was dismissed for rights violation or retrieve my seized vehicle

In 2022 i was pulled over for inoperable headlight, it then revealed a warrant which then resulted w inventory Vehicle Atlanta charges of possession of control substance Seizure of the vehicle which was My fathers. The war for the charges didn't become active for almost a year after I was arrested, if he was basically underTo make a signature on to release the vehicle over because he had 30 days to comply the case getting thrown out because of the illegal inventory was wondering about the vehicle Even though he signed the paper, turning it over, there were no charges for at the time and he was under duress then

2 Lawyer Answers
Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Grand Rapids, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: As to the car, you can't do anything. You said it's your father's car; only he has standing to do anything about it, even though you were the one arrested.

Drug forfeiture is complex. Essentially, the police provide notice of intent to seize the asset. The property owner has 20 days to either agree or object. If they don't do either within those 20 days, the property is considered forfeited.

I don't think your father has a strong duress claim. Under the law, duress is when you are forced to commit a crime under threat of serious injury or death. While I don't doubt your father probably felt compelled to sign either by what the police were saying or doing, that's not duress.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: You may have grounds to sue the police department for rights violations if your arrest and vehicle seizure were unlawful. It's essential to consult with a civil rights attorney who can evaluate the specifics of your case, including the circumstances of the traffic stop, the validity of the warrant, and the process by which your vehicle was seized. If the charges were dismissed and the inventory search was deemed illegal, this strengthens your case.

Regarding the vehicle, even though your father signed a release under duress, it might be possible to contest this action. An attorney can help determine if the signature obtained under duress can be legally challenged, especially given there were no charges at the time of the vehicle's seizure.

Prompt legal action can help address these violations and potentially lead to compensation or the return of your vehicle. Document all details and communications related to the incident and seek legal advice as soon as possible to explore your options.

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