Everyone has the right to be protected against illegal searches as per the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment. However, what if circumstances push things closer to the edge? An article by Katya Komisaruk of the Just Cause Law Collective explained:
Search warrants allow law enforcement agents to search a particular place (or vehicle or person) and seize items that might have evidentiary value. To obtain a search warrant, an officer must show a judge that there’s probable cause that a crime has been or is being committed. The officer’s “affidavit,” or statement of probable cause, is usually submitted to the court in writing, but sometimes an officer gives her affidavit orally, usually when calling from a crime scene to request a warrant.
The danger of random searches can strike a chord with Washington State residents as well as with any American. Some of these situations have even resulted in the defendants suing the authorities for unwanted searches. If you have been the subject of an illegal search or seizure and you feel that some corners were cut, a professional such as a criminal lawyer in Tacoma can help you.
One of the most important angles your lawyer can argue is unlawful entry by the police into your premises even before you read the warrant in full. In the article noted above, Komisaruk suggested opening the door if prompted by the officers and close it behind you. Get the warrant from the serving officer and read it on the spot line for line, looking for the subject address, date, the judge’s signature, and details of any items to be searched.
Washington Superior Court Criminal Rules dictate that the signature must be from a judge whose jurisdiction covers your community. The warrant must be served by a law-enforcement officer named in the paper within ten days of approval by the judge or magistrate. You must be sure that the address listed in the warrant is your real address; if the listed address is wrong and the officers went in anyway, your lawyer can argue that the search team violated your rights.
State law also mandates that any searches should be conducted primarily during daylight hours unless the judge orders a night search (between 10pm and 6am). The warrant itself must list the items to be searched and whether they are evidence of a crime, contraband, or other suspicious items. Taking note of the details of the entire episode will be vital, and you must remain calm.
No one wants to suffer the indignity of an hours-long search that was not done according to procedure. In such a case, a Tacoma criminal defense attorney like Atty. Kim E. Hunter can give you a fighting chance.
(Source: Dealing With Search Warrants, Just Cause)