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Civil Enforcement Unit

The Civil Enforcement Unit (CEU) uses civil litigation in both judicial and administrative venues to expand the NYPD's ability to respond to crimes and quality of life issues. Attorneys work with enforcement personnel, to address crime trends and conditions, such as: illegal firearms, driving while intoxicated, narcotics, prostitution, weapons, trademark counterfeiting, auto crime, and gambling.

Attorneys from the Legal Bureau's Civil Enforcement Unit regularly participate in enforcement operations, including the execution of closing orders under the nuisance abatement law and in multi-agency enforcement operations to target crimes and safety conditions associated with businesses engaged in the sale of alcoholic beverages, whether licensed or unlicensed.

One of the CEU's main forfeiture initiatives focuses on vehicles used during crimes involving illegal firearms. The CEU utilizes forfeiture cases to reduce the number of illegal firearms on the streets by providing an economic disincentive to transporting illegal firearms in vehicles.

In another main forfeiture initiative, the CEU also takes an active role in deterring people from driving while intoxicated. CEU attorneys aggressively pursue forfeiture of the vehicles used by repeat offenders or in egregious circumstances. CEU allows many offenders to retrieve their vehicles pursuant to a forfeiture settlement agreement that requires evaluation of the offender for alcohol abuse by an independent state-certified counselor and the completion of any recommended treatment prior to the release of the vehicle. This dual approach has proven to be a very effective tool for increasing public safety on the streets and encouraging people who need assistance to seek and obtain it.

Other examples of the unit's forfeiture work include seizing the expensive tools of chop-shop operators, vehicles involved in dangerous drag racing on public streets, and vehicles of people who are found to be in possession of controlled substances or marijuana in their vehicles after a lawful stop. The CEU is legally authorized to pursue forfeiture of any property which was used to facilitate a crime or constitutes the proceeds of a crime.

CEU has also played a role in addressing noise conditions throughout the city by working to ensure that "boombox" cars and loud motorcycles are seized and held until noise violations have been adjudicated.

They also effectively address drug sales in commercial buildings through the nuisance abatement law. Narcotics activity and other crimes are a destabilizing influence on a neighborhood. Working with precinct and narcotics commanders, the CEU obtains closing orders for commercial properties operated by drug dealers. To reopen, the landlord must select new tenants who are approved by the Department.

CEU also obtains closing orders under the Nuisance Abatement Law to address other crimes, such as: the sale and/or possession of stolen property; the sale and/or possession of drug paraphernalia; illegal gambling activity; the illegal sale of alcoholic beverages (e.g., unlicensed, to minors or "afterhours"); unlicensed security at bars and clubs; prostitution; illegal sale of weapons; unlicensed vehicle dismantling; and sale and/or possession of counterfeit merchandise.

Civil Enforcement Unit
Contact Information
Two Lafayette Street, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10007
Attn: Civil Enforcement Unit, NYPD
Telephone: 917-454-1100


Inquiries regarding seized vehicles should be directed to 917-454-1111. Please call in advance to check the status of your case and for hours of operation.