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What should a search warrant contain? 

On Behalf of | Feb 29, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects citizens from unlawful searches and seizures. Law enforcement officers are only entitled to search your property under specific circumstances. 

One of the most common ways that police officers gain access to a property is by obtaining a search warrant. What should a valid search warrant contain? 

The specific location 

A search warrant must name the specific property subject to the search. For example, if a house is to be searched, then its precise address and zip code should be noted in the warrant. If outhouses and vehicles are to be searched, then these should also be noted in the warrant. In cases of shared accommodation, officers usually have to specify the precise room they intend to search, although communal areas may be subject to the search. 

Times and dates 

A warrant should also include the time and date that it was approved by the court. The time-stamped warrant must be signed by a judge. Generally, warrants have a specific time limit, so the search must be conducted within this period. 

Items to be seized 

If law enforcement intends to seize items, such as computers and electronic devices, then this must be clarified in the warrant. Warrants should be issued based on probable cause and officers must adhere to the terms of the warrant. If evidence was seized out with the terms of the warrant, it may be inadmissible in court. 

If you are facing criminal charges based on a search, it’s important to know your legal rights. Seeking as much legal information as possible will help you to build a defense strategy.