Civil Forfeiture of Vehicle Returned Related to Drug Case in Shelby County, Alabama

I know police officers have a hard job. I also know that sometimes common sense should be applied.

I cannot begin to tell you how many times a police office will try to seize a vehicle related to a drug stop. The police are notorious for using the story that the car was part of the crime and therefore can be seized. A person can own a vehicle and let someone else drive it for convenience.

A most recent case in Shelby County, Alabama, Wallace v. State of Alabama, the Shelby County Drug Task Force made an arrest for drug trafficking. The police found a number of bags of marijuana in the Defendant’s car and two handguns. The Defendant told the police that the car was registered in his father’s name, but that he did drive the car often.

After a search of the title, the car was registered to the father. A civil hearing was held to seize the vehicle. The father testified that the car was in his name and did not know that his son was selling drugs. Alabama law provides an affirmative defense to innocent owners of property subject to forfeiture. Further, the father testified that his son did not live at the same address.

The trial court ruled for the State of Alabama and seized the car. The father appealed. Case Reversed.

The appellate court held the state never actually proved who owned the vehicle. There was not any evidence to support the conclusion for the seizure of the car.

If you own property that has been seized illegally, contact Ingram Law LLC at (205) 335-2640. Let us help you get your property back.