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

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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

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 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.


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