WHAT ARE SEARCH WARRANTS?
Under the 4th Amendment, the Constitution states that an individual is to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures in their homes and on their persons. The reason this right has been extended through the Constitution is due to the fact that a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy in these locations. However, does the 4th Amendment protect individuals from searches by a police when the police have a search warrant?
A search warrant is a legal document which has been signed by a judge that authorizes police officers to search for specific things at a specific place and time. By obtaining a search warrant, police officers have been given permission to disregard an individual’s reasonable expectation of privacy due to the possibility of evidence of a crime being found. When police officers execute a search warrant, they are allowed to seize any evidence that they find while conducting the search, even if this evidence might not have been included in the original search warrant.
Executing a Search Warrant
After police have obtained a search warrant from a judge or magistrate, they are typically given a window of time in which the warrant is considered to be valid to execute the warrant. Generally, if police officers wait too long, any searches and seizures conducted could be thrown out as illegal.
Behavior While Executing A Search Warrant
Generally, police officers are required to conduct themselves in a reasonable manner when executing a search warrant. This means that officers should give you the ability to cooperate and participate rather then knocking down your door. As such, police officers must typically:
- Knock and announce their present prior to entering (allows the occupant to cooperate and avoid breaking down of doors/windows);
- Present the search warrant to the occupants;
- Follow basic rules of courtesy in interacting with the occupants; and
- Not cause undue harm or damage to the property;
If you or someone you know have been charged with a criminal charge based off a search conducted through a search warrant, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney that can help zealously defend your case and possibly get the evidence excluded. Contact Us at Minick Law, P.C. for a free consultation on your case.
James Minick is founder and C.E.O. of Minick Law, P.C. James is committed to providing top notch legal services through his team of highly specialized legal professionals. James will defend your rights.