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How do search warrants work?

On Behalf of | Apr 16, 2024 | criminal defense |

Search warrants are an important aspect of the criminal justice system. They help protect citizens’ rights while allowing law enforcement to investigate potential crimes.

As a citizen, you should understand how search warrants work and your rights when faced with a warrant.

Understanding a search warrant

A search warrant is law enforcement’s legal authorization to conduct a search. If the police come to your door without a search warrant, you have the right to turn them away. You can politely inform them that you do not wish to answer their questions or allow them to enter your home without authorization.

Obtaining a search warrant

The police must present probable cause to a judge, demonstrating that there is reason to believe criminal activity has taken place to receive a warrant. The warrant must include the specific information used to determine probable cause, as well as the exact premises for the search and what the police are searching for.

Executing a search warrant

When executing a search, the police must adhere to the information specified in the warrant. If any of the information is incorrect or the officers deviate from the warrant, it could be grounds for dismissing the warrant or search. You have the right to ask to see the warrant and confirm the information, and the police must provide a copy of the warrant to the target of the search.

If the police seize any items during the search, they must provide an inventory of what is being taken. Search warrants typically remain valid for 15 days from the date of issuance. A search conducted after that period is unlawful.

Understanding how search warrants work is essential for protecting your rights as a citizen. If you find yourself in a situation involving a search warrant, remain calm, cooperate with law enforcement, and familiarize yourself with the specifics of the warrant. It is important to reach out to an attorney right away for legal guidance.



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