How long can the police hold your car if no charges have been filed?

UPDATED: Jan 14, 2012

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How long can the police hold your car if no charges have been filed?

I was involved in an automobile accident where an old man walked into my car as I was driving the speed limit on a highway. He died as a result of his injuries. He walked into the passenger side of my car hitting my mirror and right passenger door. He then rolled into the street and was hit by other cars whom didn’t stop. I wasn’t under the influence of any alcohol or drugs and passed all the tests given by the police. However, they are holding my car and won’t tell me how long they are holding it for. I haven’t been charged with anything. Is this legal? Is there anyway to get my car back?

Asked on January 14, 2012 under Accident Law, New York


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately for you, your car is evidence concerning the death of an individual. Law enforcement will hold the car as evidence so long as an investigation into the accident is continuing and whether or not the district attorney's office will file criminal charges against you or not.

If charges are filed against you, you will not have use of the vehicle for a long time. Hopefully you have placed your auto insurance company on notice about the accident.

The only way you will get your vehicle back is when law enforcement is done running tests on it and only after a decision has been made that criminal charges will not be filed against you.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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