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Things to look for in a valid search warrant

On Behalf of | Jun 19, 2024 | Firm News |

Having the police call at your property can be daunting, especially if you have faced accusations of criminal wrongdoing. Nonetheless, it’s important to remember your legal rights at a time like this. 

While you don’t need to be rude or aggressive with police officers, you are also not obliged to answer any of their questions. You also don’t have to consent to letting them into your property. To gain entry, police officers typically need a valid search warrant

How do you know if a search warrant is valid?

Search warrant requirements 

Police officers tend to be eager to enter properties, and they may not follow all of the appropriate steps. A search warrant is more than just a piece of paper, so it’s important to examine it carefully. 

Firstly, the warrant must contain the address of the property that is subject to the search. A warrant that has the wrong house number or zip code, or wrong personal details of the owner/occupants could be invalid. 

The warrant should also be signed by a judge in the appropriate court. The judge will assess the evidence that officers have already obtained and decide whether or not it amounts to probable cause. Probable cause is the evidentiary standard required to conduct lawful searches. 

The warrant should also have a time limit. A warrant cannot be indefinite. Often, warrants are valid for 24-48 hours. This is to prevent any type of harassment from occurring. The warrant should also give an indication of what types of goods may be seized. For example, if police officers intend to remove electronic devices from the property.

You do not have to consent to a search. To form the best possible defense strategy to criminal charges, it will be beneficial to seek legal guidance.