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What should a valid search warrant contain?

On Behalf of | Dec 21, 2022 | Criminal Defense

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects all citizens from unlawful searches and seizures. Thus, other than in exceptional circumstances or if you offer consent, law enforcement needs a valid search warrant to enter your residence. 

If you’re unfamiliar with the law then you may not know what a valid search warrant should include. Outlined below are a few things to keep in mind. 

The warrant must be court-approved 

Sometimes, law enforcement may feel like a matter is time-sensitive, which means they may want to cut corners. If they present a document to you that has not been signed off on by the court, then it is most likely invalid. Even in emergency cases, search warrants have to be court-approved. 

The address must be accurate 

Perhaps you own more than one piece of real estate. Law enforcement has turned up at your door with a warrant for one of your other residences. They claim that it entitles them to search the house you are currently in. in all likelihood, this is not accurate. Search warrants must be specific to the property to be subjected to the search. 

What are they looking for? 

A search warrant should also give you some idea of what law enforcement is looking for. For instance, if they intend to seize your computer and electrotonic devices (mobile phones), then the warrant should specify this. 

Search warrants should be based on probable cause, which means solid evidence that you may have committed a crime. Remember, you are innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt and having legal guidance will help you to protect this right.