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Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 20400
Experience:  Licensed attorney with 29 yrs. exp. in criminal law
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the police had a warrant to search my house for prescription

Customer Question

the police had a warrant to search my house for prescription fraud namely hydrocodone. They seized my passport. How do I get that back. I need to travel out of the country in a few months. the trip was pre-planned.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 5 years ago.

If the police will not turn it over to you upon written request to the Police Chief, then you will have to hire an attorney to file a motion with the court to compel the return of your passport.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

The case is not yet filed with the courts, can my attorney ask for the passport now or should he wait for the case to be filed? I'm frustrated, they say that they think that I am a flight risk because I was born in Haiti but a US citizen now. But I go back home twice a year for mission work. By asking for the passport, will that jeopordize my case

Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 5 years ago.
Hello again,

If there are no criminal charges pending, then now is the best time to ask for the passport back. It isn't up to the police to decide if you are a flight risk. That is the judges job. Once charges are filed, if they are, then the Prosecutor can ask the judge to order you to turn over your passport. If they can convince the judge that you are a flight risk, then the judge will order that. Otherwise, they won't. In any event, asking for it back isn't going to change the outcome of your case.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

After searching my apartment, they put a warrant for my arrest and I turned myself in and I am currently out on bond. I'm awaiting a trial date or maybe the case has net yet been filed with the courts. Does that mean there is a pending criminal charge against me? I'm confused about that. If there is a criminal charge pending, can I still ask to have the passport returned. I don't see how my passport has anything to do with the felony charge. How early is too early? The warrant was issued on Friday Jan 6th and I turned myself in on Sun Jan 8th. Everything is still fresh, I will travel to Haiti in July.

Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 5 years ago.
I see, well that is a completely separate set of circumstances. There are charges filed or you would not have been arrested. If I were you I would talk to my attorney about this, but it isn't likely that the court is going to entertain a request by you right now to return your passport. That would definitely not look good and might indicate that you plan on running. So, this way if you give it some time to where you wait a few months until your case has a definite direction (prosecution or dismissal) then and you have a "reason" to use your passport that is legitimate in the court's opinion, then you might stand a better chance at getting it back. As I mentioned, anytime someone has criminal charges pending, especially a felony, it is fairly routine to tell them that they cannot leave the jurisdiction, let alone the country. On top of that if they have significant ties with another country and one that may not extradite, there is an even stronger case for holding on to the passport.
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
How long does it normally take to appear in court in case such as mine? If I have to wait until I get in front of the judge to ask for my passport back, I might be waiting past July. In your experience, do the prosecution normally file quick or do they drag their feet on cases like mine?
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 5 years ago.
Charges have already been filed, that is why you were arrested. So, you should be arraigned on those charges pretty soon. You can check with your attorney, or if you do not have an attorney (which you will definitely need) you can call the court clerk with your case number that you should have received when you bonded out and see if there is hearing scheduled. You won't wait past July. Certainly if something odd happens and the charges are dropped or hearing isn't set, then in early May you would want your attorney to file the motion with the court to get your passport back.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks for your answer. Have a great day!
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 5 years ago.
You're welcome and best of luck to you.