In most cases, police must obtain a search warrant before conducting a search. Learn about when and how the police obtain a search warrant and when a warrant might not be necessary.
Search Warrants: What They Are and When They're Necessary
When must the police obtain a warrant before searching your home or other property?
Search Warrants and Probable Cause
A search warrant is an order signed by a judge that authorizes police officers to search for particular objects or materials at a specified location and time. For example, a warrant may authorize the search of “the premises at 11359 Happy Glade Avenue between the hours of 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.,” and direct the police to search for and seize “cash, betting slips, record books, and every other means used in connection with placing bets on horse races and other sporting events.”
Police Searches and Improperly Issued Warrants
When a judge makes a mistake and issues a warrant that shouldn’t have been made, what happens to the evidence the police turn up?
Knock-and-Announce Rule and No-Knock Warrants
The “knock-notice” or “knock-and-announce” rule originates from the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. In general, even if officers have a warrant that justifies entering a home, they must announce themselves and their purpose before intruding. The Fourth
Warrant Execution and Unreasonable Police Behavior
When the police knock on your door, you typically don’t have to let them in unless they have a search warrant signed by a judge.
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