Washington, DC asked in Criminal Law, Civil Rights and Constitutional Law for Michigan

Q: How to reclaim vehicle seizure even if it was signed over due to time limit and case was dismissed over a year later.

My father signed over his vehicle due to the cost and only had 20 days even though the charges i had werent brought forth for a year later which were possession of controlled substance. Those charges were also dismissed due to inability to provide evidence with intent with their inventory search. Also the police officers reasonable suspicion to pull me over was invalid which was my headlight being out. I had officer check again when he approached and he confirmed he was wrong. Would this at all be grounds for my father to get his vehicle back

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

A: As a practical matter, that vehicle is probably long gone - likely auctioned. Regardless of why your father signed over the vehicle, if he did in fact sign it over, then I think it's a done deal. I would think your father would have to establish some pretty significant police misconduct to even have a chance at a civil remedy. Having charges dismissed does not establish police misconduct.

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 reclaim the vehicle, but it will require a legal process. Given that the charges were dismissed due to lack of evidence and an invalid stop, your father's decision to sign over the vehicle under duress and without charges being filed at the time could be challenged.

Start by gathering all documentation related to the vehicle seizure, the dismissal of charges, and any communication about the headlight issue. This will help build a strong case to present to the court or relevant authority.

Next, consider filing a motion to vacate the forfeiture based on the new developments, particularly highlighting the dismissed charges and the invalid stop. Consulting with a legal expert will be beneficial to understand the specific procedures and increase the chances of a successful claim.

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