What is a safe way to get back a car that was involved in adrug bust?

A family member was recently arrested during a raid on a house that was growing marijuana. He drove my parent’s car there. Now the car is sitting at this house. It was not impounded. What is the safest way of getting this car back without getting into any legal trouble myself? There also may be drugs in this car. How can I safely have it searched?

Asked on February 26, 2012 under Criminal Law, North Carolina


Kevin Bessant / Law Office of Kevin Bessant & Associates

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

This question is very fact specific. I say that because the police/State has a right to seize property that they believe to be used to commit a crime or in furtherance of a crime. In your situation, if the police raided the house, but never impounded the car, and the car is not considered "evidence", then the registered owners of the vehicle have every right to get their car back from the property if it was not impounded. I would be very careful and remove all drugs from the car before I drive it because if you have drugs in the car, and the cops pull you over for a traffic stop, if they perform a search of the car and find drugs they can arrest you. To be on the safe side, I would contact the arresting agency, let them know that you or your parents want to get the car off the property, and make sure from them that the car is not in evidence or connected to the raid and free to be removed from the property. Do not mention that drugs are in the car unless you are absolutely certain because then they can impound it as being related to the house raid.

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