How long can police keep my property for investigation? 3 Answers as of June 03, 2011A swat team came to the house where I live. I am just renting a room in that house and it had nothing to do with me. They had a search warrant and they took my laptop and cell phone. One of the Sergeants gave me his business card and asked me to call him to find out when I can get my property back. He promised me he would have them examine my cell phone and laptop and return it as soon as possible. Since then it has been almost 2 months and whenever I call them (if sergeant picks up the phone) he tells me "Next Week we will release your laptop" but I haven't got it back yet and I need it for my education. My question is, do they have legal right to keep my property for so long and how can I fight them back?
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
This issue comes up quite often and I have a case now involving a laptop as well. They can keep the evidence seized for a "reasonable time" to complete their investigation. Since every case is different if you wish to try to get it back before they say they have completed their investigation you would have to hire an attorney to make a motion for return. A judge would then decide what "reasonable" is.
Answer Applies to: California