If the police seize your personal property that happens to be at someone else’s house, can they keep it until you agree to be questioned?

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If the police seize your personal property that happens to be at someone else’s house, can they keep it until you agree to be questioned?

Approximately 3 months ago someone tried to poison a close friend of mine. The friend is doing fine. Police suspect arsenic. I am close to the family. I take care of their dogs. While at 1 of their properties the FBI and local detectives came to the property with a search warrant. Although I have not been charged or questioned they seized my computer (35 days ago) and will not return it until I am questioned. I think they are considering me as a suspect, although I have nothing to do with this. I am 55, not in great health, and I do not have a police record. Can they keep my personal property without a charging?

Asked on December 8, 2010 under Criminal Law, Alabama

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If they have seized the property because they think that it is some way linked to the crime in question then yes, they can hold it until it is inspected.  They can not hold it hostage unless you talk to them.  You might want to speak with an attorney in your area on this matter and see if he or she can represent you for the purposes of the interrogation (for lack of a better word).  If you have nothing to hide then you should be fine but it is always better to have some one there to make sure that your rights are protected.  And speak with them about getting your property released.  Good luck to you. 


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