Ahmed & Sukaram, Attorneys at Law

The laws surrounding search warrants in California

Search warrants are a tool for police officers to use to gain access to search property and gather evidence for specific investigations. When the majority of evidence in a case is tied to a search warrant, it is important to examine the warrant in question to make sure it was lawfully obtained and executed by law enforcement. Let’s take a closer look at some of the issues that can arise in these types of cases.

What are the limitations with a warrant?

In California, search warrants can allow officers to search a person, a residence, a vehicle or business. Under the warrant, police are seeking specific evidence that correlates to an active case.

To receive a valid warrant, officers must work with a judge to determine if there probable cause for a search. Probable cause means that the police must believe there is some type of reasonable evidence that demonstrates that a crime was committed. Police are seeking the warrant to search for and then take this evidence if discovered.

If the magistrate believes that what the law enforcement officer is valid, and satisifies the requirements for probable case, the warrant will be granted and police will be allowed to execute the warrant within the parameters specified in the document. In most cases, this means that police have a 10-day window to run the search, and typically, this must be done during normal business hours.

The warrant needs to have “reasonable particularity,”  which means there is a specific language centered on what the police are searching for. They cannot just search for “all financial records” instead they need to search for “all documentation relating to 2019 taxes” or other evidence directly related to the alleged crime in question.

Does this leave room to fight a warrant?

There are more laws when it comes to search warrants, so it’s very possible to fight a warrant in specific circumstances. If you feel like the police took inappropriate actions or if the warrant was invalid, you could possibly be able to suppress or exclude evidence obtained under the warrant in your case. But it’s best to work with a Californian attorney who can give you better guidance for your situation.