How to File a Petition for Retrieval of Seized Property


There are several situations in which your property may be seized. Depending on the type of seizure that takes place, you may be able to file a petition to retrieve your seized property. The course of action will depend on the type of seizure involved, the agency you performed the seizure, and the state in which it occurred. If your property has been seized, follow these steps to file a petition for retrieval of seized property.

  • Review the information on your notice of seizure. In many situations you will have received a Notice of Seized Property. If you have this notice, read the instructions for how to contest or petition the seizure. The notice should provide contact information.

  • Collect all necessary information. To file your petition, you will need a number of items, some of which may include the notice of seizure or police property report and proof of ownership of the property if you were not listed as the owner of the property on the notice/report.

  • File petition with the appropriate agency. Each state and agency has a certain period of time in which to file a petition for retrieval of seized property. This period of time will usually be between 30 to 90 days. Make sure that your petition is properly signed and notarized before this time period ends. Be sure to also prepare the appropriate number of copies.

  • Pay any fees or put up any applicable bond. You will be required to put up a bond or pay a fee along with your petition. If a bond is required, it will be in the amount of a flat fee or a certain percentage of the cost of the property seized.

  • Attend your court appointment. Depending on the state and agency involved, your petition may be scheduled for an investigation or court hearing. You can hire an attorney to represent you at the hearing, though this decision may be affected by your budget and the value of the property seized. Be sure to keep track of all scheduled court appointments, so that your claim is not automatically denied.

  • Consider repurchasing your property. If your petition fails, you may decide to repurchase your property rather than lose it completely. In some situations, you may be able to negotiate a cash settlement or payment plan in return for a return of your property. If the governmental agency seized your property because of a lien or nonpayment, this will be a valid course of action. If your real estate has been seized, you may be able to repurchase it at a public auction.


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