When Can Police Take My Car?
Minnesota criminal defense attorney Joe Friedberg explains that the police can take someone’s care if it is an instrumentality of a crime.
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Well, technically, if you’ve got an amount of drugs – not a little bit of marijuana – but if you’ve got an amount of drugs in your car and they can prove you knew it – and there’s a lot of very simple proof; if it’s in there and it’s in plain view, you knew it – then they got an absolute right to forfeit your car. In fact, there’s a lot of crimes they can seize a car ’cause it’s an instrumentality of a crime – like rob a grocery store and drive it away; they can take your car. The great case that went all the way to the United States Supreme Court is a guy in Detroit who drove his wife’s new Cadillac downtown and got hit in a prostitution sting. They took the car, and the wife took the case all the way to the United States Supreme Court and lost, claiming she was an innocent owner. But it doesn’t matter. It’s an in rem action, a property action against the car, and it went bye-bye. I expect he had more problems than the car before the case was over, but…