Can the police seize my cash and keep it even if I didn't break the law?
There is nothing illegal about carrying cash, even in large amounts. Whether a
person likes to keep his cash close at hand, is buying a car with cash, or is heading back
from a winning Vegas trip, simply having cash is not a crime.
Nevertheless, police patrol the highways looking for cars with drugs or cash.
Police assume that a large amount of cash means that drugs are somehow involved.
Police often seize the cash even when the there is no hard evidence of a connection to
drug trafficking. The driver and passengers get a receipt for the cash that was seized
and are sent on their way, usually without any criminal charges. Police usually demand
that the driver and passengers sign a form declaring it is not their money. Even if the
form was signed, do not give up. We have successfully challenged multiple forfeiture
actions when the form was signed.
It does not take a lot for police to think they can lawfully seize cash. The
following is typical: Police pull over a car with out-of-state license plates. The officer
asks questions designed to get inconsistent statements about travel plans. The officer
stands close enough to say he can see signs of extreme nervousness. He then asks if the
vehicle contains any drugs, weapons, or cash. Regardless of the answer, he will ask for
consent to search. Even if the driver says no, the officer may claim that he can lawfully
search the car based on his observations. If he finds a significant amount of cash, he will
likely claim that it is linked to drug trafficking and seize it.
Cash seizure and forfeiture is big business for Kansas police. If you think cash
was wrongfully taken from you, you have the right to challenge the seizure and
forfeiture. If a judge says that the police seized the money in violation of your Fourth
Amendment rights, the money must be returned. If police cannot prove that the money
is proceeds from a drug sale, or was going to be used to buy drugs, the money must be
returned. Our attorneys know how to successfully challenge the seizure of cash and can
help you get it back. Call us today to discuss your case.