Trying to determine if you should challenge a search warrant
Search warrants are a part of many criminal cases in California. From drug offenses to property crimes, white collar crimes and even homicide cases—each year, there are probably thousands or more search warrants drafted and approved by judicial officers. Search warrants should be fairly straightforward—a law enforcement officer will typically draft a document that states what location will be searched, what the officer expects to find and why. That document is then submitted to a judicial officer for approval, after which the law enforcement officer can execute the search in question.
At first glance, the whole process may not leave much room for challenge by a criminal defendant, right? Well, that isn’t the case at all. In fact, in any case that involves a search warrant, a careful evaluation of that warrant should be one of the first parts of putting together a criminal defense strategy.
Why would a search warrant be challenged in court? Well, simply put, it is because your constitutional rights deserve to be protected. If you have been arrested and face criminal charges, your entire way of life may be on the line. The U.S. Constitution should serve as your primary shield against unreasonable or illegal searches.
Constitutional law is always evolving but, in general, search warrants have some basic requirements. For instance, there must be exact details in the warrant when it comes to the location to be searched. If a location other than the one described is searched, there may be constitutional violations.
And, the warrant must be reviewed by a judicial officer who is “neutral and detached.” If a defendant can show otherwise, there may have been constitutional violations. Of course, these are just a couple of examples. Your case is unique, and the manner in which you protect your constitutional rights will come down to the facts of your particular case.