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Reentry Resource Center - New York

Serving People from Arrest to Reintegration

What to Do if the Police Take Your Car During An Arrest: A Guide to Krimstock Hearings in New York City (Columbia Law School)

  • Organization: Columbia University School of Law
  • Document Type: Training materials
  • Date Created: Sunday, June 15, 2014
  • Submitted: Sunday, June 15, 2014
  • Attachment(s): LINK

This website is for car owners and drivers whose car has been taken by the police during an arrest. This taking is called a "seizure."

Under the law, if a car was used in connection with a crime, the police department may "seize" it and then seek title to it in a New York court in what is called a forfeiture proceeding. Owners and drivers have the right to a prompt hearing to challenge the police department's hold on the car, while waiting for the forfeiture proceeding to take place. You do not have to wait until the forfeiture proceeding starts to try to get your car back temporarily.

The prompt hearing is called a Krimstock hearing and this website explains how it works. "Krimstock" is the last name of one of the car owners in a class action lawsuit brought by The Legal Aid Society for the purpose of challenging the practice of taking a car and not providing a prompt hearing to test whether it should be given back. A high level court ruled that the City must provide an administrative hearing soon after seizing the car. 


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