Nolo's Plain-English Law Dictionary
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- Search Warrant
- An order signed by a judge that directs owners of private property to allow the police to enter and search for items named in the warrant. Judges won't issue a warrant unless they have been convinced by the police that there is probable cause for the search -- that reliable evidence shows that it's more likely than not that a crime has occurred and that the items sought by the police are connected with it and will be found at the location named in the warrant. In limited situations, the police may search without a warrant, but they cannot use what they find at trial if the defense can show that they had no probable cause for the search.