Can I get in trouble if my van was used in criminal activity without my knowledge? 36 Answers as of January 24, 2012

I loaned my van to someone, and they were selling conterfeit merchandise out of it. The investigators have confiscated my van, and said they will give it back if I answer a couple of questions. However, I didn't know my van was being used for illegal activity. Can I get in trouble? And if they said they would release my van, why can't they do it now, and save me inpound fees?

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Michael Breczinski
Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
The investigators are hoping that you will say something that will allow them to claim you knew what was going on and then they can charge you. Do not go there and talk with them without an attorney.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 1/24/2012
Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
You should hire an attorney if you are intending to answer questions or talk to the police. You could get in trouble if the prosecution can prove you knew the van was being used for illegal activity.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 1/20/2012
DeVito & Visconti, PA
DeVito & Visconti, PA | John E DeVito
If you are the owner of a van that was used in a crime it is possible that you could be charged with conspiracy. The prosecution will need more evidence than the use of the van. Thay will have to tie you to the crime and show that you hadknowledge of the criminal activityand anintent to participate. I would not speak to the police. Thay do not have sufficientevidence to charge you at this point.Anything you say will be used against you in an effortto tie you to the crime. Consult an attorney; the attorney can contact the police for you, the attorney can speak for you and express your position and the attorney can assist in getting the van back.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 1/20/2012
Robert Valles and Associates P.C.
Robert Valles and Associates P.C. | Robert Valles Jr.
No there is no evidence you were part of the crime. You will be fine.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 1/19/2012
Law office of Robert D. Scott | Robert Scott
If you did not know or have any reason to believe that your van was being used for illegal purposes, then you should not be prosecuted. However, your van may be held as evidence of the crimes your friend allegedly committed, pending resolution of his case.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 1/19/2012
    Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
    Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
    Yes, you can potentially get in trouble if their investigation leads them back to you. I'd recommend you retain a lawyer. If any of the defendants in this matter suggest you were involved to deflect their culpability, you could face charges yourself. Further, with any seizures, there are a series of steps and legal hurdles to getting your property back. You'll need an expert who understands the process to best ensure your property is returned.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 1/19/2012
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    From your question it does not sound like you can get into trouble if you loaned the van and where unaware of the activity it was being used for. They will try to get you to admit to knowledge so that they can charge you as well, I suspect. The impoundment fees can't be waived by the cops, since you let someone use your van.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 1/18/2012
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    You should seek the advise of a local attorney to assist you in this matter. If you knew nothing about the criminal activity, then you should be able to get your van back.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 1/18/2012
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
    Seems like they need to rule you out as n accomplice before releasing the van. If you had no involvement, you will not be in trouble.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 1/18/2012
    Law Office of Christopher G Humphrey PC | Christopher G Humphrey
    Yes, if you knew or should have known that it was used to commit a crime. You should contact a local attorney and ask them to contact the police for you. They can hold the van as evidence for a reasonable time, or even move to take the van if it was used to delivery drugs. You should speak with an attorney before making any statements to police.
    Answer Applies to: Wyoming
    Replied: 1/18/2012
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    If the police wants you to "answer a couple of questions" you are likely a target of an investigation. They are seeking for you to admit to a criminal act and they may not believe you if you attempt to answer their questions. Good time to hire an attorney to assist you in getting your van returned to you.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 1/18/2012
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    You should seek legal counsel. If authorities are not returning your van, they may suspect your complicit in the offense in some way. Never assume that the driver of the van did not elect to point to you as a con-conspirator.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 1/17/2012
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    If they tell you they will authorize the release of the vehicle, then they probably will. The information they seek may be all that is necessary for them to release it to you, however you may want to discuss this with an attorney just to protect yourself in the event they try to tie you into the criminal activity.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 1/17/2012
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    You should never talk to the police without an attorney. Retain a lawyer and he will get your van back and make sure that you are not charged as an accomplice. You cannot deal with the matter yourself without risking being charged with a felony.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/17/2012
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    You should hire a lawyer to go with you to talk to police but in concept, if you truly did not know what they were doing and there is no reason that you should have questioned their use of the van, then you should be able to get the van back and not have any problems. But, if you go without a lawyer, be ready to have your words twisted.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 1/17/2012
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    You probably should not speak to them without an attorney. If they tie you to illegal activity, even if you just knew about it but didn't participate, then the van is at risk.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/17/2012
    LynchLaw
    LynchLaw | Michael Thomas Lynch
    "They want to ask me a couple of questions." Red flag. Even if you have no reason to fear prosecution, do not speak with the Police without the presence of your attorney. Even if you are prepared to tell the Police everything they need to know about the friend who were using your van, you still are going to be suspect in the eyes of the Police.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/17/2012
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    You have the right to remain silent. So don't talk to the police. You can file a lawsuit to get your van back. Just be mindful that there is a statute of limitations.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 1/17/2012
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq.
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq. | Jeffrey Lawrence Pollock
    In order to avoid being charged as a conspirator, accomplice, accessory before the fact, etc. hire counsel a.s.a.p. to take with you to be interviewed before the impound charges get too high and so you need not have to file a Petition for Return of Personalty.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 1/17/2012
    The Law Offices of Stephen L. Richards | Stephen L. Richards
    You can get your impound back if you are an innocent owner. But you need to go through the process.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 1/17/2012
    Betts Legal Services
    Betts Legal Services | Shawn M. Betts
    Given that set of circumstances, if you had no knowledge of what the person was doing, you shouldn't face any criminal charges, nor be responsible for any storage or impound fees.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 1/17/2012
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    Your van was used during the commission of a criminal offense. Under Illinois Statute, the authorities have a right to confiscate it. If you want it back, you should co-operate with the authorities. They probably want to ask you questions about your participation in the crime. If you had no knowledge that the person or people were going to use it for a criminal activity, you will probably have no problems. It might not be a bad idea to retain counsel to accompany you to the questioning session, to insure your Constitutional rights are not violated.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 1/17/2012
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law | Gary Moore
    Be very careful about talking to anyone. Your words can come back to haunt you. You need to hire an attorney to deal with this problem.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 1/17/2012
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law | Mark Thiessen
    Not if you didn't do anything. Be as helpful as you can with the police and hopefully they don't forfeit your vehicle.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 1/17/2012
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    If you sincerely did not know that your van was being used for criminal activity, then you should be perfectly fine. However, since I do not know anything more than what you have told me, I strongly suggest that you speak with an attorney, just to be safe.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 1/17/2012
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    Is your question why can't they release your van and save you impound fees, or why haven't you already gone down to answer their questions, and save yourself impound fees? Which is your question? If you loaned a friend a van, and did not know anything, why haven't you already gone down? As for can you get in trouble? The answer is yes. Depending on the answers that you give, you might be arrested. However, if you are worried about impound fees, you probably do not intend to retain an attorney. I'm curious do you think is the police officer's fault, your friend's fault or your fault for choosign such a poor friend. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 1/17/2012
    Aaron Black Law
    Aaron Black Law | Aaron Black
    You can always get in trouble. It is very easy for the prosecutor to charge a person with a crime. It will be much more difficult for the prosecution to prove a case. You can only get in trouble if you knowingly facilitated in the illegal conduct. The police will not release your van because it is evidence that may need to be used in a prosecution.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 1/17/2012
    Law Office of Johnny Lai, Inc.
    Law Office of Johnny Lai, Inc. | Johnny Lai
    In my opinion, you should not talk with a police officer who says they want you "ask you a few questions" unless you have an attorney present representing you (that you have consulted ahead of time and discussed the situation/risks thoroughly). Even if you do not feel you did anything wrong and were not aware of the illegal activity, the police may be trying to make a case that you did know and get statements from you that sound incriminating or possibly falsify or take statements out of context from you implicating you. Your concern right now is getting your van out of impound, but if they implicate you, you will have a much more serious concern: criminal charges against you. Do you think the risk of criminal charges is worth it? Why can't they release your van? Maybe they can, maybe they are lying to you to try to get you to talk to them and implicate yourself (or others). If the van is being held as evidence, they will not be able to release it even after talking to youthey will have to wait until the criminal case is over. If that is the case, the police may be just saying they can release your van as a "ploy" to get you to talk to them (this is currently allowed under the law according to current court rulings.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/17/2012
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    Save fees? The government and especially the cops are not really concerned about you. Answer a couple of questions to get the van back? A ploy to allow them to get you to say something incriminating. Do not talk to cops without attorney and you do not have to do that at their place.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/17/2012
    Connell-Savela
    Connell-Savela | Jason Savela
    They can hold the van for evidence for a period of time. They are probably using this to get you to talk. You do not have to talk to the police. You can demand the van be returned. There is no guarantee that you will not be charged. It is even possible that you can be convicted. But, you cannot commit a crime if you did not know the van was going to be used this way.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 1/17/2012
    Gonzalez Law Associates P.C.
    Gonzalez Law Associates P.C. | Carlos Gonzalez
    Yea, you could possibly get in trouble as an accomplice. As to the van, usually they hold vehicles as evidence and you have to get a release from the district attorneys office, which isn't easy. If there is further delay and you need to hire an attorney to assist you contact us immediately.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/17/2012
    H. Scott Basham, Attorney at Law, P.C. | H. Scott Basham
    Without your knowledge, you have a much stronger defense. If, however, one of the guys who was arrested claims you did have knowledge, and the cops and prosecutor chooses to believe him, then you might be charged as a co-conspirator.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 1/17/2012
    Myles Hahn III Attorney at Law | Myles Hahn III
    You may choose to speak directly to the officer(s). It is possible that they will completely agree with you, and that you will get your vehicle back free with no problems. However... It is possible that your statements to the police could implicate you into having sufficient knowledge to be held responsible for what happened. Also, vehicles can be confiscated if used for illegal activity, and even an uninvolved owner can have difficulties. Discuss all facts with your own attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 1/17/2012
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    First of all, do not talk to them or answer any questions, because if you do you will get in more trouble. They are trying to fool you to get you to incriminate yourself. The truth is they will never release your van until the criminal case in court (against whoever was selling the merchandise) is concluded, because at this stage it is evidence. You should always exercise your right to remain silent, because whatever you say will be twisted around and used against you later in court. Cops are experts at doing this.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/17/2012
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