Riverside Criminal Defense Attorney

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What everyone should know about search warrants

On Behalf of | May 22, 2024 | Criminal Defense

When a crime occurs, police officers will try to determine what happened. Part of this process involves trying to collect evidence that can be used to determine who committed the crime so that prosecutors can determine whether they should be charged with criminal wrongdoing.

Police officers have to ensure that their attempt to collect evidence is handled the right way. In most cases, this means the officers need to obtain a search warrant before they can search for or seize evidence.

What is search warrant?

A search warrant is a document that must be issued by a judge or magistrate. It must include the location to be searched and what’s being searched for. In order for a search warrant to be issued, there must be probable cause showing that evidence of the crime is likely located at the place the search warrant will cover.

Search warrant requirements

While almost all situations require a search warrant, there are several that don’t. One of the most common reasons why a search warrant isn’t necessary is when someone in control of an area gives permission for the search to occur. This permission must be given freely and not because the person feels as though they have to give it.

Another situation in which there isn’t any requirement for a search warrant is if evidence of a crime is in plain view from a location where the officer can legally be. For example, If the officer is walking on a sidewalk and sees a table with drug paraphernalia in someone’s garage because the door is open, they wouldn’t need a search warrant.

There are other times when a warrant isn’t necessary. Searching someone after they’re arrested, searches of vehicles because there’s no presumption of privacy in them and searching somewhere because of exigent circumstances all don’t require a search warrant.

Anyone who’s facing criminal charges should look into the various aspects of a defense strategy that they might use to their advantage. It may be less stressful if they work with a legal representative who can explore these options to determine how to craft the strongest strategy possible. This is best done early in the case so everything can be planned carefully in service of resolving the matter favorably.