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Search Warrant Questions

Search warrants are judicial documents that authorize police to search a person or place in an attempt to find evidence of a crime. The evidence found is used in criminal prosecution. In order to obtain a search warrant, police officers must submit an affidavit showing probable cause that evidence of a crime will be found during a search. If the judge is satisfied that the officers have enough reason for a search, the judge will sign a search warrant. Once the warrant has been signed, the police may execute the search at any time they wish. To learn more about search warrants, take a look at the questions below that have been answered by Experts.

When a search warrant in Washington state is issued for two different locations and it is for a specific vehicle only, can they(police) take down every VIN (on other vehicles) at the location and check it for stolen? Can the search continue after the specific vehicle is located?

Usually, if the vehicle in question is found, any further search should be stopped. This means the search in both locations should end. The search in the location where the vehicle wasn't at would be allowed to continue for a short time, until the report is radioed in that the vehicle has been located. At that time, the search should end. In the event that evidence against the person in question was found after the search had ended, the person could challenge that evidence in court. The judge will determine if the time spend searching after the vehicle was found was unreasonable or not. Anything found before the vehicle on the search warrant was located or shortly after could be used in court. Any evidence found after the police had been notified of the find would have to be challenged by the suspect's attorney.

My parents house was searched two days ago and the warrant said "Sworn statement saying there are drugs and drug paraphernalia inside the home." Doesn't it have to be written on the search warrant EXACTLY what they were looking for and where they would find it?

Generally, the law only required that the address of the property in question is listed, along with the items that are to be searched for. As long as the address is listed, the officers can search the premises. There has to be probable cause to acquire a search warrant. Without probable cause, a judge will not allow a search to be performed. A police officer must sign a sworn affidavit stating why they believe they will find an item(s) in a home.

A search warrant was issued 08/4/11 for my property for probable cause to suspect drug trafficking. Things are missing from my home. I would like to know who is responsible for the theft and damages. And why can't I get a copy of the signed search warrant?

When executing a search warrant, the police may make a mess upon entry or during a search. This is allowed by law and there is little a person can do about it. You will need to show that you own the items that were removed. This generally happens when a search warrant is executed regarding felony drug charges. As far as responsibility, that would generally fall on the person who is under investigation. The detectives or officers who conducted the search are required to give you a copy of the search warrant.

If a federal search warrant is served, and the warrant doesn't have a judges actual signature on it, is the warrant still valid?

Generally, a search warrant would be considered invalid without a judge's signature. However, it is possible that the search warrant was obtained via phone call. In that case, a copy of the search warrant would have to be signed by the judge within a reasonable timeframe. There are situations where evidence can still be used in court even if it was obtained by an invalid warrant. There is usually probable cause or an exception to the search warrant requirements.

Can a search warrant be performed at any time of the day and any day of the week?

There are no restrictions on when a search warrant can be executed. If an officer has probable cause and can get a judge to sign off on a search warrant, they can execute the search at any time of day or any day of the week. However, there are times when a judge cannot be reached and the police must wait to execute a search until the judge has signed. Usually, this is to avoid any unforeseen issues about the validity of the search warrant during a trial or hearing.

Search warrants are use by police to search property in an attempt to find evidence of a crime. Generally, when a search warrant has been executed, the person in question will be possibly facing some form of charges. If you find yourself in a situation regarding a search warrant, you should seek the legal insight of a Legal Expert.
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