Can the police keep mypersonal propertyas evidence for as long as they want if I’m not being charged with anything?

Basically I was at my friends house and it was raided for pot selling; nothing to do with me. I was just at the wrong place at the wrong time, yet I was instantly arrested before the search began. My friend was also somehow in possession of a stolen laptop, again nothing to do with me. I also had on me at my friends house my ipad and iphone, which I bought at the store so I had receipts, and one laptop that I bought on-line, so there was no receipt to obtain. Now it’s been over a month.

Asked on January 3, 2011 under Criminal Law, New York

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Well here is how the police see it. You were at your friend's house with 3 luxury electronic items, which included a laptop.  The police found a stolen laptop and had to inventory pretty much everything in the house.  If you showed the police the receipts, it doesn't necessarily mean those were the items or that they were your receipts.  If the police did not ticket you or arrest you and told you you were free to go, you now need to get the police station, go to the commanding officer and ask for the return of your belongings. Understand that once the police take it, it can be quite a long time before they return it, if at all. You need to be proactive of getting your items back or possibly suing your friend for the money.


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