What are Search Warrants? | Us Warrants

What are Search Warrants?

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The term search warrant is used a lot in general conversation, but what exactly does the term search warrant mean? Usually the term “warrant” refers to the paper that allows a law enforcement person to arrest or detain a person because he or she has committed a crime. However, it is hard to reconcile this definition of a warrant with the term “search”. Most people may think that a search warrant refers to searching for a person that has committed a crime but this is not the case.

Purpose of a Search Warrant

A search warrant allows the police to search a person’s house, business, or any other specified place for evidence. The police do not need to prove that a person has committed a crime; they just need to have that the evidence they are seeking probably will be located within or in the vicinity of the area in which they are searching. If the police can demonstrate to the judge that they have probable cause to believe that there is evidence in the house, business, car, etc then the search warrant will more than likely be granted. Unless there is an imminent danger to human life, a person’s home, business or body cannot be searched without a warrant.

Fourth Amendment and Search Warrants

Search warrants are explained by the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution which states: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, house, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The Scope of a Search Warrant

Now this explanation stating that the place to be searched must be described can be tricky. For example, if the police have probable cause to believe that a person may have stolen a car, then the obvious and logical places to search would be the driveway, carport, garages, barns or large toolsheds. A lot of people have mistakenly concluded that if the police are looking for a stolen car then they cannot look in cupboards, drawers or desks but this is not correct.

Key Considerations for Search Warrants

The search warrant, however, would include the entire house because even though a car cannot be concealed ina dresser drawer or desk the keys to the stolen car can be hidden there. Those keys would be evidence that the car was stolen; therefore, the police would have the right to search for any evidence in the house that would provide evidence of the car theft.

Criteria for Granting a Search Warrant

Also, it is significant that it is made clear that a judge will grant a search warrant only if they receive sworn statements from the police describing the place to be searched and the type of items for which the police will search. In other words, search warrants are not automatic or pro forma, a search warrant requires specificity as to the place being searched and a good faith affidavit as to the reason for the search.

Operational Details of Search Warrants 

Some search warrants can only be executed after 6 am and before 9 or 10 pm; others can be executed at night or at any time. Although the search warrant may only list certain named persons, the police can detain any other person who is in the house at the time of the search. Another substantial concept to remember is that if evidence that justifies an arrest is found, the police can search and arrest a person who is present even if the person was not originally listed on the search warrant.

Post-Search Warrant Procedures

If the police find items that meet the evidence requirements, they can seize the property but must give the owners a receipt for the property they (the police) have seized.

Understanding the Criminal Record Certificate

A criminal record certificate is a document that is required in many situations. A criminal record certificate is also widely used in other cases, such as adoption or guardianship proceedings, employment, and some visa matters. Although criminal records can be obtained in two ways – by contacting the FBI or by contacting the State Police, the FBI is accepted in practice because it reflects the absence of a criminal record in the entire United States and not in a particular state or county.

The Importance of Apostille in Criminal Record Certificate

A criminal record certificate must always be apostilled.

Procedure and Contents of a Criminal Record Certificate

The contents of the certificate are entered from the register in the approved form with all the necessary data. Dactyloscopy is mandatory for obtaining a certificate of no criminal record in the United States.