Law enforcement is tasked with investigating crimes and ensuring that the law is upheld. However, they are not allowed to do this at the expense of civil liberties.
Searches and seizures are a crucial component of many criminal cases. Typically, for such procedures to be lawful a valid search warrant must be issued. What must a search warrant contain?
The details of the property
A valid search warrant must contain accurate information with regard to the site being searched. For instance, for your home to be searched, the address on the document must be accurate. Officers cannot then use the same warrant to search your place of business or another residence that you own.
The details of the items
In some cases, law enforcement may want to seize electrical items such as computers. To do this, these items must be listed on the warrant. This is crucial for upholding the chain of evidence.
Warrants must be court approved
Law enforcement may be worried about evidence being disposed of, but that doesn’t mean that they can cut corners. Other than in exceptional circumstances, officers are not allowed to search your home or property without valid documentation. This documentation (search warrant) only becomes lawful when it has been signed off on by the court.
Generally, search warrants only remain valid for a day or two after their issuance. The warrant must clearly display the dates of validity. For example, if law enforcement appears at your door with a search warrant that was issued two weeks ago, then this is not likely to hold up, and evidence resulting from that search is likely to be deemed inadmissible.
Facing criminal charges is a serious issue but it’s important to remember that you have rights. Seeking experienced legal guidance will help ensure that you remain innocent until proven guilty.