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Watch a video of an OATH judge explaining some parts of the process.

The Hearing Itself

The hearing is like a short trial. You will be in a room that looks like a courtroom.

When the hearing starts, the police representative will give an opening statement. It is a summary of what they plan to prove. The actual proof comes later, so do not interrupt to correct or challenge anything in the opening statement. The arresting officer will not be there, and this is acceptable at an OATH hearing.

You will then have a chance to give an opening statement. This is a summary of the points where you do not agree with the police and an outline of what you plan to prove at the hearing.

Next, the police representative will present evidence to prove the three steps discussed on the Plan to Respond to what the Police Must Prove page, and to show how the notices were provided, if you have challenged that. You can ask questions about the papers they present and about their ideas of what the papers prove. The OATH judge may also ask questions.

Then it will be your turn to present your case. This includes any papers you have brought, and other statements you would like the OATH judge to consider.

Remember to consult the attorney handling your criminal case before speaking at this hearing. You are not required to make a statement at the Krimstock hearing, but if you are silent on a particular topic, the OATH judge is allowed to assume that you do not have any evidence that is different from what the police have shown.

At the hearing, you may choose to testify about some issues but not others. For example, you may choose not to testify about the crime you are accused of committing. If you did not get the Vehicle Seizure Form, you may testify about just that. You may also choose to testify only about whether returning the car to you would make the public less safe.

The police representative and the OATH judge will be able to ask you questions.

If you can give the judge a detailed view of the hardships caused by lack of a car, and of your basic reliability, this is the time to do so.

WARNING: What you say at the formal Krimstock hearing can be used against you in your criminal trial. What you say into the microphone is recorded and can be typed out for later use. If you have a Krimstock hearing while your criminal case is still active, consult your criminal attorney.

A plea bargain or guilty verdict in the criminal case may be used in the Krimstock hearing to prove some of the three required parts: probable cause to stop the car, search it and arrest you; likelihood of a crime being committed that would support taking ownership in a forfeiture proceeding; and increased danger to the public if the car is returned. You may challenge any of the three parts, even if you pled guilty or were found guilty of the criminal charge.

If you own the car, but you were either not in the car when the police seized it or you were not involved in criminal activity, then you might be an "innocent owner," and the hearing may proceed a little differently. Please look at the Innocent Owner section of this website for more information about this situation.

When the evidence has all been presented, both you and the police will have the opportunity to give closing statements. Your closing statement summarizes the points you have made. You should also ask for the result you want.