Search warrants allow for law enforcement to search property in the event that they have probable cause to do so. When they search the location, they are looking for evidence that can be incriminating. Without a search warrant, the police cannot access and search your home without you giving them the green light. If the search is in an effort to protect you or other innocent parties, authorities can search property without a warrant.
Requirements of a Search Warrant
There are four requirements that must be met in order for a search warrant to be valid:
- The warrant must specify the specific location and items that will be searched and seized in the event that the authorities find what they are looking for.
- The police must be able to prove that there is probable cause that gives them reason to search a particular location.
- A judge must approve the search warrant.
- It must be filed by the police.
When a Search Warrant is Served
Prior to allowing the police to search the area that the warrant specifies, you must first look at the warrant to confirm that it is valid.
A warrant can be valid for as long as items outlined in the warrant can be located. There is really no specified length of time that a warrant is valid for but generally, they should be less than two weeks old.
When inspecting the warrant double check to make sure that the address is correct. There have been instances where the incorrect property has been searched. Not only is this a hassle to those involved, it is also a waste of time and resources.
It is important to check that the warrant was signed by a judge. When the judge has signed the warrant it is considered valid as they have consented to the search taking place.
When a Warrant is Invalid
Always inform the police if you notice an error in the police report. In the event that the warrant does not have the correct information, you have a right to deny them entry into your home or property. Despite this, the police may decide to search your house. If this occurs, any of the evidence that the authorities find in their search could be deemed inadmissible in court. An attorney who specializes in criminal defense, can help to protect your rights throughout this process.
Always contact a defense attorney such as the Criminal Defense Lawyer Baltimore MD locals trust if you have concerns or believe your rights were violated when a search warrant was served.
Thanks to our friends and contributors at Greenberg Law Offices for their insight into Criminal Defense Law.