Ramapo police said the dirt bike was seized on December 16, 2020, when a 16-year-old was stopped by officers for driving an unregistered vehicle. For reasons that are unclear, the teenager reportedly abandoned the bike and fled into the nearby woods. They were captured by police shortly afterwards, sources indicate.
Police said they are unsure who is the owner of the dirt bike and are asking anyone missing a Yamaha dirt bike to contact the Ramapo Police Department. No further details have been provided at this time.
What happens when no one claims the dirt bike?
If no one comes forward to claim the dirt bike, Ramapo police may file a civil asset forfeiture claim to seize it. The bike will then be sold at an auction and the proceeds will be absorbed into the police department’s budget.
Civil asset forfeiture is a controversial practice that legally allows police to confiscate property they believe is connected to a crime. The action is brought against the property, so a criminal charge against the owner is not required. Forfeiture laws are intended to be used as tools to fight organized crime by giving police a legal means to seize the illicit proceeds of criminal organizations, thereby weakening them.
In practice, however, these laws are not always used in this way. The categories of what can be seized are very broad and have the potential for abuse. Critics of forfeiture laws argue police are incentivized to use the process as a way to pad their department budgets, since the seizing agency often gets to keep the bulk of the proceeds.
According to the Institute for Justice, New York law enforcement agencies seized more than $18.2 billion under state law using forfeiture laws between 2000 and 2018. The report gave New York a “C” grade for its forfeiture laws. It lauded the state for a recent set of reforms by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration that strengthened transparency and accountability requirements, but called for even more policy reforms. According to the report, New York has a “somewhat higher bar to forfeit” than other states since prosecutors are required to provide evidence that seized property is connected to a crime. Despite the state’s recent reforms, however, New York still has a large profit incentive and gives up to 60 percent of forfeiture proceeds to law enforcement agencies.
Civil asset forfeiture can happen to anyone, but just because police or federal agents have taken your property doesn’t mean you cannot get it back. However, in order to get your property back quickly, you often need the assistance of an experienced civil asset forfeiture defense attorney who knows how to protect your rights at every stage of the process.
Nationwide Federal Civil Asset Forfeiture Attorney
Has your property been seized by police or federal agents? Contact Brian Silber, P.A. to set up a free initial consultation and work with a nationwide federal civil asset forfeiture attorney.