How long are the police allowed to hold evidence if a person has not been charged with a crime?

The police confiscated 3 computers and 2 cell phones from my house over 6 months ago and have not called or been back to my house since. Should I go demand my stuff back or what?

Asked on October 24, 2011 under Criminal Law, Ohio


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Six months may be too early for you to begin to demand your items back. What you need is an advocate to determine if a) the investigation has been completed, b) if forensics have touched the items seized from your person or home and c) if the items are being held for trial. You should talk to a criminal defense attorney and do not directly speak with the police. You certainly do not want to make them move quicker if they are indeed working on a trial because it will just serve to raise issues of the urgency of your request. Your attorney will tactfully ask and find out whether or not you are in any danger of being arrested or indicted and of course, if you are not, your lawyer will nicely but firmly go through the legal quagmire of getting your items back. Do not be surprised, however, that if you get them back, they are erased or do not work properly. Unfortunately, there may be nothing you can do about that but again, if it happens talk to your counsel about the issue and see if a resolution can be found.

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