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Depending on the circumstances of when they pulled you over, New York police may seize your vehicle. These circumstances include situations in which you have used the car in the commission of a crime such as driving while intoxicated.

In many of these situations, the law may allow the police to not give your car back to you and, depending upon the circumstances, seek to title it themselves in what is known as a "forfeiture proceeding." Fortunately, due process under the law means that the police cannot arbitrarily seize your vehicle, and that you can seek the opportunity to get it back through a "Krimstock hearing."

Before a Krimstock hearing takes place, you may attempt to negotiate a settlement with the police to get your car back.  Sometimes, the police may offer to return your vehicle in a "quid pro quo" arrangement. For example, if your vehicle was seized in connection with a DWI stop, what you must do to get it back may be to complete an alcohol treatment program.

Not all settlement attempts work out, though. In that case, a Krimstock hearing is an administrative hearing that takes place before the forfeiture proceeding, and it allows you to make an argument for why the forfeiture should not take place. In the hearing the police will have the burden of proof to demonstrate that probable cause existed to stop and arrest you, that it is likely that the car was being used in the commission of a crime and that returning it to you would constitute a danger to the public.

Remember, that if any criminal charges are still pending against you when the hearing takes place, anything you say during the hearing may be used against you in court to prove your guilt in the criminal case.

A Krimstock hearing may get your car back at least temporarily, but the police can still press forward with seeking a forfeiture proceeding. If the police prevail, your car can be taken from you again.

Aside from helping you to avoid making any self-incriminating statements, a New York traffic attorney can also help you during a Krimstock hearing and in any other legal actions in which you seek to reclaim your vehicle if it has been seized by the police.

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