Skip to main content

Criminal charges dismissed/dropped, can he recover property?

Saint Paul, MN |

My husband was pulled over in Feb of last year, he had a suspended license and the car's title was in the process of being transfered to his mom's name (which later did get finalized). The officer came back to his car after running his license & asked if he can search the car, my husband said no, they did anyways & found $8500 cash & about 1 gram of meth. My husband went to jail and bonded out on this,also they forfited the $ & car, he has not yet went to trial on this charge because 2 days later he was picked up by the feds on a conspiracy charge. He has filed for 180 day disposition on this. If he is found not guily or if the charges are dimissed, do they have to give the car & money back? His lawyer did not file on the forfiture notice, within the given timeframe for recovery.

+ Read More

Attorney answers 3


First, assuming that your husband has a court-appointed criminal attorney they generally do not get involved in the forfeiture proceedings as they are a civil matter and a seperate case. Therefore, it was up to your husband to retain an attorney to pursue his interests/rights in the forfeiture proceeding. Secondly, since the forfeiture proceeding is a seperate legal action the outcome of the criminal case will have no bearing on what will, or has happened to the property seized in the forfeiture actions. Thirdly, since from the fact scenario you present it sounds like the time to file on the forfeiture proceeding has expired that case is probably over at this point with the items having been forfeited. You could try to look into retaining an attorney to petition the court to reopen the forfeiture proceeding.


Though it impossible to know for sure without seeing the legal papers involved, most asset forfeitures in Minnesota are the kind referred to as administrative forfeitures, authorized by statute. If this is one of of those, and the time to serve and file a challenge to the seizure and administrative forfeiture notice has expired, generally there is nothing that can be done to get the property back. You might wish to consult your lawyer about it.

This is an area getting much attention lately by the public, news media, and politicians as an area in need of legal reform, by changing the statutes.

It is important to challenge an administrative forfeiture notice well before short deadline has expired. Many commentators have remarked that the current statutes on forfeiture in Minnesota amount to little more than legalized theft. Law enforcement agencies get to keep much of the proceeds, which creates a conflict of interest for them.


This involves an administrative forfeiture. If counsel did not file on the forfeiture or was late, not much can be done.

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer