The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects against unreasonable searches and seizures by governmental entities. A violation of an alleged offender’s Fourth Amendment rights can result in the exclusion or suppression of evidence.
A warrant must be issued for searches that implicate the Fourth Amendment. To obtain a warrant, the person seeking it, typically a police officer, must make an application to a judge. The following requirements need to be met before a valid search warrant can be issued:
1. be issued by a neutral and detached decisionmaker (i.e. a judge);
2. be based on probable cause (meaning it’s more-likely-than-not) that the items sought are in the place to be searched;
3. describe with particularity the place to be searched and the items to be seized; and
4. be executed within a reasonable period of time.
There are various situations where a search warrant is not required prior to a search. Any evidence seized is admissible, even if a search warrant was not obtained, if:
1. it is “incident” to a lawful arrest;
2. in a movable vehicle in circumstances giving rise to the “automobile exception;”
3. while police are in “hot pursuit” of a suspected felon;
4. in an “evanescent” or “endangering” state;
5. in “plain view” from a lawful vantage point;
6. during a “frisk” after a valid stop;
7. in the course of a search authorized by voluntary consent;
8. in the course of inspections or searches conducted for certain “regulatory” purposes
Whether a search warrant is required and whether it was obtained and implemented correctly varies greatly from case to case depending on the specific facts and circumstances. If you have concerns over a search warrant or lack of search warrant, contact a Minneapolis Criminal Defense Lawyer to discuss the matter right away.