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Vehicle Seizure Guidelines and Restrictions

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  • Vehicle Seizure Guidelines and Restrictions

    Does anyone know what the Oklahoma vehicle seizure guidelines are? I think I remember the law saying that if a vehicle is seized, it has to be used for certain purposes and cannot be used for just anything. Does anyone have further direction and/or links for reference?

  • #2
    For state seizure it must be purchased with the fruits of illegal activity or used as a conveyance in the commission of a felony for the most common seizure if you arent a tax enforcement officer. If you used your pickup to deliver CDS or as a get away car in a robbery/burglary etc then it can be seized. If you can prove a home, boat, and car were purchased with drug proceeds or stolen money then it can also be seized. There are also state tax laws about assest seizure but I dont think thats what your looking for. Use OSCN to search for case law. The feds have similar laws I think but I dont know anything about their processes.

    Vehicles generally will only be seized if they are worth the seizure. If its a 2006 Dodge pickup wiith a 30K lein by a bank most DA's wont mess with it because it isnt worth the payoff to seize it. If its a late model vehicle thats owned or has a very low debt against it they will usually go with the seizure.

    Also you have to prove the person you arrested is the owner or that the owner knew it was used as a conveyance. If some thug uses grandma's car to deliver you some meth a lot of DA's wont try for seizure because grandma can come to court and say she had no idea and usually get her car back. Likewise if its a 1988 POS worth 100 dollars most DA's wont file seizure because it just isnt worth having.

    Talk to your DA and see what they want seized. They'll be the ones filing forfeiture so its pretty well up to them what goes. Hope this helps.
    Last edited by HCSO511; 04-19-2011, 03:07 PM.

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    • #3
      Thanks for your reply.

      I am aware of the elements necessary to seize a vehicle, as I have been involved in seizing many of them.

      I apologize for not being clear. My question was more in the realm of how the vehicle is directed to be used post-seizure. We recently had an incident where a nice, new vehicle was seized and a member of the administration wanted to use it for non-LEO related activities. I would be more specific, but this is a public forum and my dept is well-known for roasting those who don't conform. Two different patrol officers expressed their concern to me over the use (or better misuse) of this vehicle, and one of them mentioned he believed it was directed somewhere that the seized vehicle either had to be sold or used ONLY in LEO related activities. For example, it could not be seized and then given to the mayor as a take-home vehicle.

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      • #4
        I have always heard it the way you have but Ive never sat down and read it. Ive seen cars used as UC cars and Detective and admin's take home units so marked units could remain in patrol and Ive seen them sold. Not sure if other city departments can take them. I guess if it was used for city business only then it wouldnt be much of a problem but Im not really sure. Do you have contacts at the DA's Council? Im sure you couild make an off the record phone call and ask and politely let your admin or city admin know without getting your neck in a noose. Tough spot man.

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