The Constitution of the United States guarantees rights to citizens. The Fourth Amendment, specifically, protects citizens from illegal or unreasonable search and seizure.
In order for law enforcement officers to do a search of your property for drugs, they often have to get a search warrant in advance. The question many people have: Once that search warrant is obtained, does that mean that you cannot fight it? After all, police make mistakes all the time when executing a warrant.
Here is what you need to know about search warrants in the United States and Minnesota, and how you can legitimately fight one with the help of an experienced attorney.
What Police Need for a Warrant
Getting a warrant is a process the police must follow in an exact sequence in order for it to be legitimate. They have several things they have to report to do this, which include:
- A description of the person to be searched
- The items that are meant to be seized in the search
- The time the search will be carried out
If the police don’t adequately describe any of the above, then their warrant can be invalid. A skilled defense lawyer looks at the description in the warrant as well as the items that were to be seized in order to deduce if it’s a legitimate warrant or not.
After all, if the police search outside of the identified scope of the warrant, or they unlawfully search or take any property that isn’t included on the warrant, then it’s possible that evidence may not be used against you in the government’s case in court.
The time of day that the police identify as the time the warrant is to be executed is also important. If they obtain a warrant stating that they are going to search during the day but wait until the middle of the night, then that search and seizure may be illegal. The same is true of knock and no-knock warrants. If a warrant is a knock warrant, then the police must knock and announce their presence to make the warrant lawful.
Can a Search Warrant Expire?
Warrants do have an expiration date. Often, this is referred to as a warrant becoming “stale.” If the police sit on the warrant for several months after securing it, then in most cases it is no longer valid to complete a search of a person or their property.
How Do Police Get Search Warrants?
Police get a search warrant from a judge by presenting something called probable cause. Probable cause is defined as evidence a reasonable person would believe to establish that a crime has been committed or is being committed. Therefore, the items included in the search warrant should be in the area that is described. Police are required to swear to the accuracy of their probable cause affidavits before a warrant is granted.
If the probable cause affidavit used to secure the search warrant has specific allegations that turn out to be false or any outright false statements, then the evidence gathered with the search warrant may be thrown out of court. That means that it won’t be allowed to be employed against you in your case.
An experienced attorney can help you to navigate the intricacies of the Fourth Amendment and how it relates to search warrants executed in your case involving controlled substances. Your rights are always to be upheld, no matter what.
About the Author:
Christopher Keyser is an AV-Preeminent rated criminal and DWI defense attorney based in Minneapolis who is known for fighting aggressively for his clients and utilizing innovative tactics to get the most positive results. He has been featured in numerous media outlets due to the breadth and depth of his knowledge and named a Certified Specialist in Criminal Law by the Minnesota Bar Association. Mr. Keyser is Lead Counsel rated, and he has received recognition for his criminal law work from Avvo, Expertise, Super Lawyers, The National Trial Lawyers, and more.