How do search warrants work?

How do search warrants work?

On Behalf of | Oct 18, 2019 | Criminal Defense |

Understanding how a search warrant works is essential if officers show up at your home in Florida saying they have one. You will always have an easier time if you understand the situation than if you do not. Essentially, you need to know what the warrant allows officers to do and what it does not. You want to be able to exert your rights as much as possible.

Cornell Law School explains that a search warrant is a legal document only granted by a judge that provides officers the ability to search and seize. Each warrant has specific instructions that state what the officers may search and what they may seize. Anything outside of the specifications is off limits. For example, if the warrant says the officers may search your basement and take any relevant evidence, they cannot then search the rest of your home because the warrant is only for the basement.

Search warrants tie to your Fourth Amendment rights, which state that you have the right to be secure in your own property against unreasonable searches by law enforcement. This is why they need the search warrant.

There is an exception. The Fourth Amendment protects you against unreasonable actions. If an officer has a reason behind a search, then he or she does not need a warrant. So, sometimes a search may occur without this document.

When carrying out a search warrant, officers may do it anytime, but usually, they do it during the day and avoid doing them at night. In addition, they have to knock and announce themselves and give you time to answer the door before they enter. There are, of course, some exceptions to these general rules. This information is for education and is not legal advice.