Police took my things during a search. Can I get them back?

The police may take things that belong to you during their search. What happens to your things later depends on whether your things are being used as .

Returned items

If the item is not illegal and is not being used as evidence in a crime investigation, the police usually return it to you within 3 months if you are the lawful owner. Illegal items include drugs and unlicensed weapons.

Things you won’t get back

If the item is being used as evidence in a crime investigation, you will usually not get it back until the matter has been closed. You may never get the item back.

If the police get approval for a , they don't have to return the item. Civil forfeiture gives police the right to keep your property if it seems “more likely than not” that:

  • the item was paid for with money gained through crime, or
  • the item was used to commit a crime.

A judge decides if something is more likely than not by using a test called a .

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