Important information you should know about search warrants

On Behalf of | Feb 26, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

Search warrants are orders authorized by a court that allow law enforcement to lawfully conduct property searches and seize evidence for criminal investigations. Obtaining a search warrant requires law enforcement to demonstrate probable cause to a judge or magistrate that shows a reasonable basis to believe that evidence of a crime is present in the location to be searched.

Without a search warrant, any evidence obtained during a search can be deemed inadmissible in court under the exclusionary rule unless the investigation falls under certain exceptions. These exceptions include consent to search, exigent circumstances requiring immediate action or if the evidence is in plain view.

Content and scope of search warrants

A search warrant must be specific about its scope and content. This specificity includes detailing the exact location to be searched, such as an address or a description of the premises. It also must identify the items or evidence sought by the law enforcement officers. This requirement prevents the issuance of general warrants that allow for broad and indiscriminate searches.

Required information for issuing a warrant

To issue a search warrant, law enforcement must provide a sworn statement or affidavit to a judge or magistrate. This statement must contain details of the crime, the evidence expected to be found and why the evidence is believed to be located at the specified premises.

The judge or magistrate evaluates the information provided to determine whether there is probable cause. If satisfied, they issue the warrant, authorizing law enforcement to proceed with the search within a specified timeframe, usually a few days.

Everyone should understand their rights regarding search and seizure. Knowing the options available when issues arise in this regard can individuals who have been accused of wrongdoing as they create a defense strategy. Working with someone familiar with these matters is beneficial so they can explain the options and help build the defense.