Defining the Protocol for Search Warrants in California
Individuals in the US have the right to privacy and law enforcement cannot invade your privacy without legal justification. This means that a police officer cannot just come in to your house and search your things for absolutely no reason. If law enforcement wants to search your property, person, office, or vehicle (or any other relevant area) they require a search warrant. It is only with a search warrant that officers can conduct a search and then seize what they deem to be evidence. There is specific legal protocol for receiving a search warrant and this article will provide a brief overview. If you have any questions about your rights, please contact us at Law Advocate Group for more legal information.
How Can Police Officers Receive a Search Warrant?
Police officers have to present a request for a search warrant to a judge. That judge then has the responsibility to determine whether a search warrant is justified. There must be probable cause for conducting a search. While there are a host of factors a judge can take into consideration, search warrants are often granted when the property/item/thing in question has been stolen, provides evidence of a felony crime or is the means for conducting one, contains firearms, or depicts the sexual exploitation of a child. These are just some of the justifications for a search warrant. The search warrant itself has to be incredibly clear and specific. It must definitively state exact what can be searched and seized by an officer.
Conducting the Search Warrant
If police officers are granted a search warrant, they have a limited purview of what they can search and, subsequently, seize (if needed). The officer cannot fully change their mind upon arrival at the property/thing. If they do seize something, they have to leave a receipt in its place. In California, when police are about to conduct a search they must knock and announce their presence and their intention to conduct a legal search warrant. If you believe you have been subjected to an unfair search and seizure, immediately contact us so that we can help protect your rights.