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Watch a video of an OATH judge explaining what the police must prove.

Plan to Respond to what the Police Must Prove

Your hearing plan should focus on whether notice was given in the required way, and on whether you can challenge the three things that the Police must prove to win the right to keep your car. If you can challenge something on this list, prepare to do so.

Did the Police Give the Notices Correctly?

The police have to give both the driver and the vehicle owner notice of the right to a Krimstock hearing. If the OATH judge finds that the police did not give proper notice, you may get your car back. Giving notice is accomplished by giving the driver the Vehicle Seizure Form at the time of the arrest and mailing a copy to the owner within 5 business days. A sample version of the form is available here.

Can the Police Prove Every One of the Three Requirements?

The police must prove ALL THREE of these things:

  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 forfeiture proceeding in state court and permanently keep your car.
  3. Danger to the Public: Returning the car would make the public less safe.

At the Krimstock hearing the police will show their case first. They may hand in arrest records and other reports to show that each of these three things is most likely true. The arresting officer is not expected to attend, so do not spend time planning questions that you would ask that person.

Note: A plea bargain or guilty plea to a crime in the criminal trial will usually give the police the proof they need to show the "probable cause" and "likelihood of success" parts of their case. Even if you or the driver pled guilty in the criminal case, you may still challenge any of the three parts. But you may wish to focus on the third part, showing that you would not put other people in danger if you got your car back.

While planning for your hearing remember that you will have a conference first and at that time you can get copies of the papers the police plan to use in the hearing, and ask them to explain how they plan to use the papers to establish these three ideas or steps of their case.

If you do not speak English, OATH will provide a translator on the phone during your conference (and also at the hearing).

If there is an active criminal case against you at the time of the Krimstock hearing, you should talk to your criminal attorney to decide if you should speak at your Krimstock hearing.

At the Krimstock hearing the OATH judge is allowed to assume that if you do not say anything contrary to the police report, then you agree with it. This is not true in a criminal case. At a criminal trial a judge may NOT assume that your silence means agreement with the police records. However, what you say into the microphone at the formal Krimstock hearing is recorded. It can be typed out later and used against you in your criminal case. It is therefore important to talk to the attorney on your criminal case about the Krimstock hearing.

When preparing your responses to each of the three steps that the police must establish, make sure that you have read the information on the Settlement page of this website.