The US Constitution protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures, so police can’t just bust into your home on a whim and look for drugs. That said, law enforcement can secure what’s known as a search warrant, which is a legal document that gives them the proper authority to search a specific place.
In order to obtain a search warrant, law enforcement must present probable cause to a judge who then issues the search warrant. However, these warrants need to be quite specific, and that makes it easier for a lawyer to challenge the legality of the search if police step out of line when conducting the search. Below, we take a closer look at three ways that the defense can challenge the legality of a search warrant.
Challenging A Search Warrant
You can absolutely challenge the legality of a search warrant that you are presented with, but you’re not going to be able to do it at the moment the warrant is presented. You’ll have to wait for your day in court, but you’ll still want to read the search warrant over carefully, because it will specifically list when and where the police can legally search. If police step out of line with any of these three factors, you may be able to have any evidence collected during this search thrown out by the judge:
Where The Search Is Limited To – The search warrant will be limited to specific areas, like your home, your backpack, or your locker. If police search areas not specified in the the warrant, that evidence may be withheld from trial. For example, if you have a detached garage, and only the residence is listed in the warrant, police can’t just barge into the garage and look for evidence.
What Is To Be Seized – Police also need to be looking for specific items, they can’t just look for any and all illegal items. The warrant will state what items are to be seized, and if they uncover other potential issues, there’s a possibility that that evidence won’t be admissible. That said, if police are looking for illegal firearms and they stumble upon a heroin den, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle trying to get that evidence thrown out.
When And How The Warrant Is To Be Executed – The warrant will also list when and how the search should be conducted. If the warrant is supposed to be conducted during the day and police raid your home in the dark of night, or if it’s supposed to be an announced knock raid and they bust in unannounced, that could cause problems for the prosecution’s case.
If you’re confused about how the search was executed or if it was conducted legally, it’s imperative that you speak to a defense lawyer. You’ll need one by your side to challenge the legality of the search or just build your defense, so don’t delay. Reach out to an experienced firm that will fight back when your rights are violated. For more information, or for help with your criminal case, reach out to Avery and the team at Appelman Law Firm today at (952) 224-2277.