What should a search warrant look like?

On Behalf of | May 29, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

Most people have heard of search warrants. However, most people have also probably never seen one before.

A search warrant is a very important document, as it allows law enforcement to gain access to a property and search for evidence. Nonetheless, this can only happen if the search warrant is valid.

What should a search warrant look like?

It has to be official

A search warrant is more than simply a piece of paper. The document must be court-approved. It should have a header from the relevant court and a signature from a judge with the authority to approve search warrants.

It has to be specific

A valid search warrant must also contain very specific details. For instance, it must state the specific property that is subject to the search. A search warrant cannot be used for an adjacent property or a property at a different location. For example, even if the warrant is one digit out (naming a neighbor’s house for example), officers cannot then use this warrant to search the house they had originally intended to. They must go back to the court and obtain a warrant that contains the appropriate address.

The warrant should also specify the date of issue and expiration. Search warrants are not unlimited in terms of time expiration. The specified time is usually a matter of days so that officers cannot unjustly interfere with the rights of privacy.

If specific property is to be seized, such as computers and electronic devices, then the warrant should also state this clearly. If items are taken as evidence, but not identified in the warrant, then that evidence might be ruled inadmissible.

If you are facing criminal charges based on findings from a search, seeking legal guidance can help you to establish any irregularities with the warrant.    


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