Get Back Property Seized in Connection with Alleged Criminal Activity
California Health and Safety Code Sections 11469-11495 allow local law enforcement agencies to seize property believed to be connected with controlled substances criminal activity. If the property is personal property worth $25,000 or less and no timely claims are filed a prosecuting agency may, after notifying all potentially interested parties and publishing notice in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the property was seized, issue a declaration of forfeiture without having to go to court. This is called an administrative (nonjudicial) forfeiture action.
If a Claim Opposing Forfeiture is timely filed and served, however, the prosecuting agency must file a petition for judicial forfeiture within 30 days after receipt of the claim; otherwise, it loses the right to maintain custody of the seized property. You must file your Claim Opposing Forfeiture within 30 days after you receive personal or mailed notice that your property may be forfeited. If you do not receive personal or mailed notice, you must file your claim within 30 days after notice is first published in a newspaper.
The Judicial Council forms commonly used in this procedure are:
Click here to download this Guide, with step-by-step instructions, including sample forms.