What are the requirements for police to get a search warrant?

Television programs often show police handing someone a search warrant as they burst into a home. In order for police to be able to search a property and seize items in most places, a search warrant must be issued from the appropriate court.

The Fourth Amendment of our Constitution protects citizens from “unreasonable searches and seizures.” That means searches are allowed when certain requirements are meet, such as:

— Probable cause exists for search warrant to be issued by a judge.

— When certain situations justify a warrantless search — an example would be searching someone for weapons after his or her arrest.

The requirements of the Fourth Amendment don’t apply if there is no “legitimate expectation of privacy.” A test for determining this was created by the U.S. Supreme Court and there are two parts.

— Did someone expect that what was searched would remain private?

— Was that person’s expectation reasonable?

In most cases, someone would believe that their home is private. Society in general believe this is a reasonable expectation. Therefore, a search of someone’s home must then meet the meet the requirement for the Fourth Amendment when it comes to reasonableness.”

So, what happens when police or other law enforcement conduct a search that violates the Fourth Amendment? That evidence is not allowed to be used by the prosecution. In addition, when the illegally-obtained evidence that police find that leads them to more evidence, the new evidence can’t be used either.

If you feel your charges are the result of an illegal search and the court agrees, it can significantly affect your case. An experienced attorney can review your case and provide advice on how to proceed.

Source: FindLaw, “Search Warrant Requirements,” accessed Aug. 27, 2015