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How does seizure work? What I mean is, what can be seized?

Los Angeles, CA |

If you commit a crime, are arrested and it is speculated that you bought your cars, home, etc with illegally gained money the police can take everything? Do they have to have a warrant? If so, does the warrant have to include a list of everything that they'll be taking? If a husband is arrested and the wife buys a car after the seizure takes place, can that car be taken as well? Thanks for taking the time to read my question. :)

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Attorney answers 6

Best Answer

I think you mixing up a couple legal issues. The first is what are the grounds something can be seized as evidence for a crime. In most cases a search warrant is required to go through homes and cars. Anything that is potential evidence can be seized for trial. Then there is the issue of forfeiture which deals with seizing property permanently because the property was used to commit the crime. The issue of title is certainly relevant to that concept. I think you would get more information by sitting down and explaning the whole picture to an attorney. We do free consults if that is something you want to do. Any time.

Brian Michaels
Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney



Thank you Mr. Michaels. I am just doing research for a book that I am writing so that won't be necessary, but thank you for all of the insight and info.


You have asked many questions. Far too many to answer on this forum as it appears that you need to consult with an attorney. I would say, that the State or Federal authorities can seize property if there is evidence suggesting that the property was connected to illegal activity / purchased and connected to a crime. There are situations where a warrant is necessary and where a warrant is not necessary. For example, a car can be searched without a warrant if someone is under arrest and they need to impound the vehicle. The police are allowed to do an inventory of the property within the vehicle and are allowed to search for purposes of the impound / inventory.

If a car is purchased as suggested above, it can be seized if the police believe it is part of the crime or the money used was part of the criminal or illegal activity.

I would suggest you consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Good luck.


The answer is not as complicated as my colleague suggests. The answer is "anything" acquired through the use of contraband.


You are talking about asset seizure and forfeiture, a very complex set of laws that are sometimes used tyrannically by the government against citizens. You need to hire an attorney to help you. State forfeiture laws vary widely and they also vary from the federal asset forfeiture laws. Hire counsel and be very careful.


Consult with an attorney privately to better understand your options.


Nicholas M. Loncar, Esq.
t: 323.803.4352 | f: 323.617.3838
Sunset Law Building | 1295 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA | 90026


The police can seize anything that might be evidence in a crime as long as they do so "reasonably." What constitutes a reasonable seizure is a complex discussion that you should have with your attorney.

The authorities can institute forfeiture proceedings against any property they believe was used to perpetrate a crime. These are civil proceedings and can get very complicated. As other attorneys on this thread have indicated, you need to talk to a lawyer about this.

The response above is not intended as legal advice. This response does not create an attorney-client relationship. Legal questions can only be fully answered through consultation with an attorney to whom you give full and accurate details. Anything you post here is not confidential and is not protected by the attorney-client relationship. It is highly recommended that you seek advice from a criminal defense attorney licensed in your jurisdiction by setting up a confidential meeting.