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Joseph
Joseph, Criminal Defense Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 7280
Experience:  I have 15 years experience in criminal litigation including several years as a felony prosecutor
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I just had court today and got a copy of the search warrant

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I just had court today and got a copy of the search warrant they had for my place. Listed were items that they hoped to recover from a burglary they suspect my boyfriend is involved with, as well as, his shoes, as evidence of his participation. The items are all large. Tools and such. I thought they were only allowed to search for items that they have warrant for. So why were they looking through my paperwork, jewelery, and other smaller containers?

You're on the right track, though not completely accurate.

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When seeking a warrant, the law enforcement officer writes an affidavit that describes the probable cause for the belief that there is some unlawful activity and that describes what the officer believes he will find. When the warrant is signed, it too will detail what the officers intend to look for.

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The affidavit and the warrant provide the parameters of the search. For example, if they were looking for something large, like a car, they clearly could not look in your bedroom closet. Conversely, if they were looking for illegal drugs, they could search just about any area, including cabinets, drawers and the like.

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While the affidavit and warrant may limit where the officers can look, it does not limit what they might find. For example, if they were looking for illegal drugs but found a gun used in a murder, they could still seize the gun and use it as evidence.

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So, in your situation, if the items were all large, they would only be permitted to look in places where those items might reasonably be located. Assuming they limited the search in that fashion, they could legally take whatever unlawful items were found.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

They didn't look in places where the items on the warrant would be found. Or in places they could even logically be kept. They may have been tipped off to there being drugs as well, but wasn't included on the warrant. So can anyone just say anything about someone and that give them reason to use whatever they can to gain access to it.

If the items they found were not located in places that would reasonably fit the details of the warrant, then they would be subject to a motion to suppress, regardless of what other information law enforcement may have had. If so, then the items could not be used in court and your charges might be dismissed.

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I hope you found my answer helpful. If so, please click on "OK", "Good" or "Excellent" service. This is necessary for me to be paid for my work and so that I can get credit for assisting you. Even if you are a subscription member, you will need to click on one of the positive indicators. Your question will not close, and you will still have the opportunity to follow-up if needed.
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If you are not yet satisfied with my answer, please do not yet rate my service. Instead, please click on the "Reply to Expert" and let me know what else I can do for you. Please only rate my answer when you are fully satisfied.
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Also, several customers have asked how they may direct a question to me in particular. If you specifically want me to assist you in your legal matter, just put "FOR JOSEPH" in the subject line and I will gladly pick up the question as soon as I am on-line.
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Leaving a bonus is not required but doing so is certainly appreciated! Thank you and good luck.

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