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A Quick Summary

A Krimstock hearing will be scheduled once an owner or a driver of a "seized" vehicle asks for a hearing by submitting a Vehicle Seizure Form (this form is explained in detail on the next page of this website, The Police Must Give you Notice).

You may try to reach a settlement with the police before the hearing. If you feel uncomfortable talking to the police alone, you can wait and an OATH judge can help you discuss a settlement at a pre-hearing conference (see The Settlement Conference in this website).

If the police decide to settle with you, they may ask you to do something in exchange for returning the car. For example, if the car was taken in a drunken driving ("DWI") case, you may be asked to go for an evaluation and possible treatment in an alcohol treatment program. Or, if you were not involved in the criminal activity when the police seized the car and are an "innocent owner," you might be asked to promise that you will not allow the person who was arrested to use your car again.

If you and the police do not settle, you have the right to have a formal Krimstock hearing in front of a different OATH judge who was not involved in the pre-hearing conference.

If the OATH judge hearing the case decides against you, the police will keep your car until the police bring a civil forfeiture proceeding to get a ruling on whether they can keep it permanently.

If the OATH judge decides the case in your favor, one of two things may happen:

First, the police will be ordered to return your car. If this happens, there will be no conditions placed on the return of your car as there are in a settlement.

Second, the police may still sue for the car in a forfeiture proceeding. If the police win the forfeiture case, the City can take your car back from you even if you won the Krimstock hearing.

Krimstock hearings are not part of the forfeiture case and are not part of any criminal case. However, what you say at a formal Krimstock hearing could be used against you later in your criminal case.

At a Krimstock hearing, the police have to prove that you got notice of your right to the hearing in the proper way, if you are challenging that. They must also prove three other things listed here:

  1. Probable Cause: The police had enough information to stop the car and arrest the person in the car. If the police claim something illegal was found inside the car, the police must show probable cause to search the car as well.
  2. Likelihood of Success: The car was likely used as part of a crime. If this is true, the police could win a civil case in state court for permanent ownership of the car.
  3. Danger to the Public: Returning the car would be a danger to the public.

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