Seizure for Forfeiture by Tampa Police
What happens when the Tampa Police Department seizes a vehicle or other valuable property for forfeiture?
After the seizure, TPD must issue a “notice of seizure” to the owner of the vehicle or any person who has in possession of the property when it was seize. TDP must also file an application for a probable cause determination.
The court then enters an order either granting or denying that application. You can find the application and order on the clerk of court docket.
An attorney can help you request an adversarial preliminary hearing (APH) with TPD. At the APH, your attorney can help you present arguments and evidence showing no probable cause exisited for the seizure.
If you want the property back and are free to argue why, there is no reason not to demand the APH within the 15 day deadline for requesting the APH.
Attorney for Forfeitures by Tampa Police Department
The attorneys at Sammis Law Firm handle criminal and civil asset forfeiture cases. Many of these cases involve seizure for forfeiture by officers with the Tampa Police Department.
If officers with the police department for the City of Tampa seized your property, then typically issue a Notice of Seizure Form (TPD 62). That form explains your right to demand an adversarial preliminary hearing (APH) within 15 days of the date on the notice.
Attorneys at Sammis Law Firm can help you file that demand for an APH and represent you at the hearing. If you prevail at that hearing, the court can force the Tampa Police Department to pay up to $2,000 of your reasonable attorney fees.
If the court allows the case to proceed past the APH, they must file a complaint asking the court to award the property to TPD.
Our attorneys can also help you during that phase of the case by filing a judicial claim, answer to the complaint, motion to suppress, motion to dismiss and/or motion for summary judgment.
Under Florida law, you are entitled to a jury trial if requested. For all of these reasons, criminal and civil asset forfeiture cases in state court under F.S. §932.701 – §706, which is known as the “Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act” are complicated.
The attorneys at Tampa Police Department are very good at seperating people from their money and other property through forfeiture proceedings. You also need an experienced attorney on your side to help you get the property back quickly.
Tampa Police Department’s Forfeiture Unit
After the seizure, you might be asked to contact Tampa Police Department’s Forfeiture Unit or speak with Jose “Joe” Fernandez, in the Tampa Police Forfeiture Unit at 813-276-3766.
When you contact TPD, the authorities in the forfeiture unit might question you in order to gather evidence about the source of the property seized and its intended purpose.
For an innocent owner, the authorities might question you about whether they had knowledge of any prohibited activity involving the property seized for forfeiture.
Officers with Tampa Police Department must follow the standard operating procedures listed in SOP 337, dated September 2014, which superseded SOP 337 dated March 2007.