Seizure for Forfeiture by Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office

What happens when deputies with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office seize your U.S. Currency, vehicle, or other valuable property for forfeiture?

You should immediately contact an attorney at Sammis Law Firm to learn how to fight the case and file a claim demanding that your property be returned.

In some cases, our attorney fees are paid on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay nothing unless we recover your property. In other cases, we file a flat fee to file the demand and litigate the adversarial preliminary hearing (APH). We can also help you file a judicial claim and answer any complaint for forfeiture filed by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

If you file all the appropriate pleadings and have standing to contest the seizure, you are entitled to a jury trial. As a result, it is common for HCSO to return the property when you are represented by an experienced attorney who knows how to protect your rights.

To discuss your case with an experienced asset forfeiture attorney, call 813-250-0500 today.

The “Notice of Seizure” Issued by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office

Immediately after the seizure of your property, HCSO is supposed to issue you a notice of seizure explaining your right to demand an Adversarial Preliminary Hearing within 15 days. The notice of seizure might provide the following:




Agency Report Number:




This is to advise you that on [date] the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office seized [description of property] for violation of the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act, Florida Statute, 932.701-707 (1995).

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT to request an adversarial preliminary hearing to have a court determine whether probable cause exists to believe the property seized has been or is being used in violation of the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act.

The request must be made within fifteen (15) days after receiving this notice.

In order to request such a hearing, you must submit the request in writing by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the seizing agency below.

The request must include an address at which the seizing agency may serve you with further papers in this proceeding. The seizing agency will set a hearing with the court and will notify you of the time, date, and place of that hearing.

PLEASE NOTE THAT the post-seizure adversarial hearing is not mandatory, and you need not request a hearing to later contest the action taken against the property described herein.

Signature of Officer or Attorney
For Seizing Agency

Frank D. DeCiutiis, Esquire
Attorney for Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office
2008 East 8th Avenue
Post Office Box 3371
Tampa, Florida 33601

(Check one of the following)
___ Certificate of Mailing by Certified Mail
___ Hand Delivered, Accepted by ____________________

HCSO’s Statement of Disclaimer of Interest

To avoid issuing the Notice of Seizure, the HCSO deputy might coerce you into signing a statement of disclaimer of interest. But even if you sign the disclaimer, an attorney can still help you get the property back by filing a demand for an adversarial preliminary hearing anyway. The statement of disclaimer of interest provides:


Date of Seizure
GO Report No.:

I, __________, acknowledge that on _______, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office seized the following property:

  • U.S. Currency $________
  • Vehicle: Year:____ Make:____ Model:____ VIN:___ Tag/State:____ Milage:____
  • Other Property Described as: ______

I understand that the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s office has seized the above-described property for forfeiture proceedings pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 932, Florida Statutes.

To the extent that I was in possession of the above-described property at the time of the seizure, or to the extent that I have any claim, ownership interest, or personal interest in the above-described property, I am hereby waiving my right to an Adversarial Preliminary Hearing and to notice of any judicial or administrative proceeding regarding the above-described property. I am hereby renouncing any interest in the above-described seized property and am abandoning any and all claims that I may have to the above described seized property.

I hereby declare that I am fully competent to sign this document and that I am knowingly, freely, intelligently, and voluntarily signing this Statement of Disclaimer of Interest.

I hereby declare that I am not under the influence of any alcohol, drugs, or medications which impair my judgment or affect in any way my ability to understand this form.

I hereby declare that no law enforcement officer or other person coerced or threatened me in any manner or has promised my anything whatsoever
to sign this Statement of Disclaimer of Interest.

I hereby declare that I have carefully read this Statement of Disclaimer of Interest and have had it explained to me by the witness below. I fully declare that I fully understand the content and meaning of this Statement of Disclaimer of Interests.





HCSO’s Application for Finding of Probable Cause for the Seizure of Property

Within 10 business days of the seizure, HCSO must file a petition, which they often call an “Application for Ex-Parte Order Finding Probable Cause for the Seizure of Property.” The court will then enter an ex-parte order finding probable cause for the seizure of property.

You can often find the application by searching the Hillsborough County’s Clerk of Court website,, for all cases filed by HSCO’s attorney within 10 business days of the date of the seizure. You can search for the name of the HCSO attorney or the business name “HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE.”

The case information for HCSO’s Application for Ex-Parte Order Finding Probable Cause lists the case category description as “civil” and the “case type description” as “application for seizure of property.” The case number starts with the year and AF, for example, 24-AF-000.

If no one files a demand for an adversarial preliminary hearing (APH), then HCSO’s attorney files a verified complaint for probable cause and for a final order of forfeiture pursuant to the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act.

Although the complaint often alleges, “The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office has complied with all notice requirements of the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act…” one could argue that is not true when they attempt to substitute the “Statement of Disclaimer of Interest” for actually providing a “notice of seizure” that explains the claimants’ rights as required by the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act and the Administrative Order S-2017-067 for the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit.

Learn more about seizures for forfeiture in Hillsborough County, FL.

This article was last updated on Monday, May 27, 2024.