it was good that the officer gave you a citation instead of arresting you. paying the fine would be a conviction on your charge, which may be a city ordinance or a state misdemeanor. an attorney may be able to help you resolve this through a pretrial diversion program or another form of dismissal which would be better for you in the long run on job applications, licensing matters, applications for schools and elsewhere. you will also get a demand for a civil payment from the merchant for about...
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I would want to know why the police were at the house. Sometimes they are called on a domestic violence call and enter the house to make sure everyone is safe. Once there, they can seize contraband in plain view. If they simply entered w/o permission, there may well be a valid motion to suppress based on 4th amendment and other grounds. This can only be raised after the case is indicted or formally accused. You will first have to get him out on bond.
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the other answers are correct that a claim has to be filed. there are time limits on when this must be done, so he should consult counsel sooner rather than later. I have recently seen an instance where the seizing agents got someone to sign a form abandoning any interest in the seized cash which they signed so as not to miss a flight. however, if a proper claim is made and your nephew can show the source of the money, it can be recovered. he needs counsel familiar with forfeiture laws.