Contested Return of Property (U.S. Currency – Cash) Hearing on a Health and Safety Code section 11351 Possession of Drugs for Sale Charge Results in Case Dismissed and Order for Return of $11,000 in U.S. Currency!

Our office was recently retained to litigate a preliminary hearing at the Inglewood Courthouse for our client’s 2007 charge for allegedly violating Health and Safety Code section 11351, “Possession of Drugs for Sale”.

When we appeared on the matter, we persisted on a no time waiver preliminary hearing to force the prosecution to either gather their witnesses quickly or be forced to dismiss the charges. At the preliminary hearing, the prosecution announced they were unable to proceed and they were going to have to dismiss the charges. Instead of obtaining a dismissal of the charges pursuant to Penal Code section 1382, “unable to proceed,” we were able to achieve a dismissal pursuant to Penal Code section 1385, “in the interests of justice,” a better form of dismissal.

Obtaining this PC 1385 dismissal of the charges positioned our client to request for return of the $11,000 in U.S. currency seized at the time of his arrest. After contacting the Sheriff’s Department Property Unit, we were informed that the court would be required to order the property released to the defendant.

We then filed a motion with the court requesting that it sign an Order for release of the $11,000 in U.S. currency released to our client given that the case was dismissed. The prosecution filed a written response arguing that the currency was arguably drug proceeds and contraband and should not be released to the defendant. The prosecution also subpoenaed the arresting officers with the intent of having them testify as to the origin of the currency.

At the hearing, the court refused to hear testimony from the officers and stated that since forfeiture proceedings had not been instituted by the government for the currency the client was entitled to return of the property. The court then signed our proposed Order and our client can now proceed with having the Sheriff’s Department provide the seized currency.

This is a great result for our client, resulting in the dismissal of the charge against him and an Order for return of his seized property.

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