Obtaining Property Back From NYPD After An Arrest
When an individual is arrested often his personal property will be taken at the time of the arrest. This property is then given to the NYPD Property Clerk Division. It is the clerks job to accept, catalog, safeguard, store and produce in Court as necessary any property that is taken from an individual. Whenever any property is taken the owner of the property is given what is called a “property voucher.” A property voucher is a pink receipt for the property taken. The voucher will state the reason why the property is taken on top of the document.
Property is taken for four main reasons:
Evidence/Investigatory – This is the main reason property is taken from individuals. Unfortunately when property is taken as evidence of the commission of a crime the District Attorneys office is going to hold the property untill the case is over. Evidence property will be signed in/out in a log as it is used in connection with a criminal case.
Safekeeping – This is property than an arrestee might have on him at the time of the arrest that has nothing to do with the commission of a crime. This can be returned upon a showing of the invoice and property identification. If the individual is incarcerated pending trial then an authorized individual can obtain the property with proper ID and documentary authorization.
Forfeiture – Under Federal Law, NYS Law the New York City Administrative Code, the NYPD can seize property if it can be shown to be the proceeds or instrumentality of a crime. This is a separate proceeding done in the Civil Court. The burden of proof in the Civil action is a preponderance of the evidence. The outcome of the criminal case is irrelevant to the forfeiture action.
Contraband – This is property that is illegal to own. This property will be held for evidence and destroyed when it is no longer needed for evidence.
Under the Rules of the City of New York (“RCNY”), if the property is held as arrest evidence, then the claimant needs the following:
District Attorney Release – The District Attorney must respond to your request for a release within 15 days. If you are denied a release, you are entitled to a written explanation of why your property is being held and to have a supervising DA review the decision.
This request must be made within 120 days of the termination of the criminal case.
Under the RCNY, if the property is being held as investigatory evidence, the claimant needs the following:
Letter on Official Letterhead from Investigative Officer releasing the property.
Under the RCNY, if the property is being held as Safekeeping evidence, the claimant needs the following:
This can be done at the Precinct where the property was taken or the Property Clerks office in the borough of the arraignment.
Property that is taken as Contraband will not come back to a claimant unless his/her lawyer can argue that your possession of the property was lawful.
Property this is subject to a Forfeiture action, the claimant must first request a hearing at OATH.
New York City Property Clerk Offices and Numbers:
1 Police Plaza, Rm. 5-20
New York, NY 10038
301 Gold Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
215 E161st St., Rm. C-27
Bronx, NY 10451
47-07 Pierson Place
Long Is. City, NY 11101
1 Edgewater Plz., Rm 521
Staten Island, NY 10305