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How Does a Search Warrant Work?




    It’s always important to understand the law so that you can fully protect yourself. For example, you might be curious about how a search warrant works and be surprised to find out that it isn’t quite like it appears to be on television. Thanks to the Fourth Amendment, you have rights when it comes to search warrants. Unreasonable searches of your property could actually be breaking the law and be illegal.


    The Criteria

    The following requirements must be met in order to legally search a person’s property:

    • There is probable cause and a judge issues a search warrant

    • Certain situations occur that result in the need for a search

    What is a situation in which you can legally be searched? In most cases, if you don’t have a legitimate expectation of privacy or if you aren’t in a private place, a search warrant can likely legally happen.

    Your home, for example, is considered a private space. Without a search warrant, it’s unlawful for a police officer to search it. However, if you commit what looks like a crime outside of your home—in front of your neighbors, for example—it would likely not be considered a private space. In this case, a search would probably be legal.


    Obtaining a Search Warrant

    Because of the laws surrounding the searching of property, it isn’t always easy to get a search warrant. First, the police must convince a judge that there is probable cause and that they believe they will find evidence of criminal activity once the property is searched. This usually involves an affidavit. If the judge agrees that there is probable cause, he or she will issue the search warrant, allowing the police to search the property.

    If police officers search without following the rules, the judge can dismiss that evidence in court because the police didn’t follow the law.


    Austin and Williamson County Criminal Defense Attorneys

    Do you have questions or concerns regarding a search warrant? Contact the attorneys at Tillman Braniff, PLLC to find out if it was legal. Call us at 512-236-0505 for an Austin warrant or 512-473-8745 for a Williamson County warrant. You can also reach us online.