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Order on Probable Cause for Seizure

After an application for the seizure of property is filed with the court, the court can either grant or deny the order depending on whether the court finds probable cause. The form for the court’s order finding probable cause or not finding probable cause are contained in Attachment A or Attachment B.

The order discusses whether the court has found the requirements of Florida Statute section 932.703(1)(a) were satisfied and that probable cause exists for the seizure. If so, then the court will order that the property will be held until further order of the Court.

Attorney for Seizures of Property in St. Petersburg, FL

Call an experienced criminal defense attorney in St. Petersburg, FL, to discuss the procedural safeguards found in Sixth Circuit Administrative Order 2016-039. We can help you understand your right to demand an adversary preliminary hearing within 15 days of the seizure.

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Ex-Parte Order Denying Probable Cause for Seizure

The court will consider an application pursuant to section 932.703(2), Florida Statutes, after the seizure of the property by a law enforcement agency in Pinellas County, FL. After reviewing the sworn affidavit, the court may find that the law enforcement agency did not provide enough probable cause to support the seizure for one of the following reasons:

  • The law enforcement agency in Pinellas County, FL, did not apply for the probable cause determination within 10 business days after the date of the seizure;
  • The requirements specified in paragraph (1)(a) of section 932.703, Florida Statutes, have not been satisfied; and/or
  • The Agency has not established probable cause for the seizure based on a review of the attached affidavit.

For one of these reasons, the court may find that the requirements of Florida Statute section 932.703(1) were not satisfied and that probable cause does not exist for the seizure. If probable cause does not exist, then the court will order that any forfeiture hold, lien, lis pendens, or other civil encumbrance shall be released in conformity with the statute within 5 days.


Ex-Parte Order Finding Probable Cause for Seizure

On the other hand, if the court finds that the requirements of Florida Statute section 932.703(1)(a) were satisfied and that probable cause exists for the seizure, then the court will order that the property shall be held in conformity with the statute until further order of the Court.

In an order finding probable cause for the forfeiture, the court will find the following:

  • The Agency applied for the probable cause determination within 10 business days after the date of the seizure;
  • The requirements specified in paragraph (1)(a) of section 932.703, Florida Statutes, have been satisfied based on the fact that one of the following facts exist:
    • The owner of the property was arrested for a criminal offense that forms the basis for determining that the property is a contraband article under section 932.701, Florida Statutes;
    • The owner of the property cannot be identified after a diligent search or the person in possession of the property denies ownership and the owner of the property cannot be identified by means that are available to the employee or agent of the seizing agency at the time of the seizure;
    • The owner is a fugitive from justice or is deceased;
    • An individual who does not own the property is arrested for a criminal offense that forms the basis for determining that the property is a contraband article under section 932.701, Florida Statutes, and the owner of the property had actual knowledge of the criminal activity;
    • The owner of the property agrees to be a confidential informant as defined in section 914.28, Florida Statutes; or
    • The property is a monetary instrument.
  • Probable cause exists to seize the above-described property under the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act.

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