Legal Updates

How to File a Petition For Return of Property

In Philadelphia, property is not returned automatically following the disposition of your case.  A defendant whose possessions were confiscated must petition to get them back. Filing a Petition for Return of Property is both time consuming and difficult.  Here is the basic procedure for getting your property back:

  1. Collect all Relevant Paperwork. The first step in filing a petition for return of property is gathering all relevant paperwork.  To file the petition you will need The Police Property Receipt, Police Photo Number Case Number, and disposition of your case.  You must file a separate petition for every piece of property seized from your person.
  2. Notarize and File the Petition. The petition is filed in Room 206 of the Criminal Justice Center.  The Motions Clerk will list the petition for a status listing in 478 City Hall within thirty (30) days of the filing of the petition.
  3. Appear in Court With an Attorney.  An attorney will not be appointed for you if you fail to appear in court without a lawyer.  You may represent yourself.  If you fail to appear on your scheduled court date the case will be dismiss and your property will be permanently forfeited.
  4. Process the Short Certificate.  Once the petition is granted, you must proceed with the paperwork to Police Evidence Unit, Room 715 City Hall.  This is often the most difficult part of the procedure.  The Police Evidence Unit will require proper identification, and may charge you a storage fee for property such as a vehicle.