A search warrant permits law enforcement to search a specified area that they suspect contains evidence of illegal activity, and to seize any contraband items found. However, even if a judge issues a warrant, it is not necessarily valid.
An experienced Pierce County criminal attorney will look at the details of the underlying warrant to determine whether it was valid. If it was not a valid warrant, the evidence seized cannot be used at trial.
Two of the most common reasons a warrant turns out to be invalid are:
- The warrant was issued based on an officer’s experience and expectations
- The warrant is overbroad in its language
Warrants Based on an Officer’s Expectations
Some warrants are issued based on an officer’s explanation that based on their experience as an investigator of similar crimes, they will be able to find key criminal evidence in a particular location.
Although most judges are reluctant to issue a warrant based on such an explanation or expectation, especially if the wording is boilerplate, others do. And if such a warrant is used to search and seize evidence, a Pierce County criminal attorney may be able to invalidate it and suppress the evidence at trial.
The validity of a warrant may also be attacked based on the fact that it is overbroad. In order for a warrant to be valid, it must be specific with respect to the crime, the location to be searched, and the items to be seized. In other words, the warrant must specifically show that there is probable cause that the evidence being seized is linked to a crime. If the Pierce County criminal attorney can prove that there is no probable cause, she can successfully make a motion requesting the judge to suppress the evidence seized.
For more information about attacking the validity of a search warrant, call Pierce County criminal attorney