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Replevin is one of those words that just sounds…smart. It’s a word I think I heard in law school one time. So when a client called me asking about a replevin, I was like, really??

But last week I had a replevin hearing. Admittedly, replevin is not the sexiest topic I could talk about, but I think it’s relevant, and I’ll tell you why.

So replevin has to do with a return of property. So in my my client’s situation, the police had his gun after he allegedly fired it intoxicated within city limits.

Sometimes in situations like that, and mostly in drug situations, a forfeiture will be imposed which is exactly like it sounds: you forfeit your property when it was used in the commission of or to further a crime. So in drug situations, clients often find that that $4,000.00 they were carrying around, plus the three cell phones, and the car they used to get to the buys, is all bye-bye.

But in my guys situation, no one ever talked forfeiture at all. One way or the other. Really, his attorney should have clarified at least so he would have known one way or the other.

So we file an action against the police department saying, hey you took my gun on his date because you claimed I did “X”, and that was like a year ago, and I’ve called you and you won’t give me my gun back, so now I’ve hired an attorney and she says give it back now.

So we went to court. We are still waiting on the decision, but that in a nut shell, is the process of replevin.

But it’s not limited to situations like that. It can be Joe seeking the return of tools from Bob. Or if the property is gone, you can bring an action in conversion which is where you are seeking the fair market value of the property that was taken.

As I said, admittedly, this is not the sexiest topic, but I think it’s relevant for a couple of reasons: First, police are finding more and more ways to take people’s stuff, with or without forfeiture, and that must be checked. I specifically argued that no forfeiture was imposed, nor discussed, and the police should not be able to take that weapon where undoubtedly it will end up in some officer’s gun cabinet.  Second, situations do arise between friends, neighbors, employer/employees, where items are taken and not returned to their rightful owner. So if you find yourself in this situation, remember, replevin, conversion, Ashley Jones Law.