If an officer knocks on your door and presents you with a warrant, your first thought is likely not going to have you wondering whether or not they presented you with a valid warrant.
But that should be one of the first things you ask. After all, warrants only have validity in certain circumstances and with certain conditions.
What is the purpose of a warrant?
Florida State Legislature discusses what makes a lawfully executed warrant. Generally, due to the Fourth Amendment, law enforcement needs a warrant granted before searching a person’s home or their private property.
Though exemptions exist, an officer should typically serve someone with a warrant before taking a look around.
What should a search warrant have?
In order to have full validity, a warrant needs to stick to certain rules. For example, a warrant must get issued and signed by either a neutral judge or another magistrate. This warrant must come based on information that makes an officer believe they have probable cause of a location containing criminal evidence.
To file for a warrant, the filing officer needs to do so in good faith. This means they must have a genuine and honest belief that they would benefit from searching the target’s property.
Warrants need to describe the target search location. It must contain the right address and the room or number if located in a hotel or apartment.
Finally, a warrant needs to describe “with particularity” any item that an officer intends to seize if they find it within the premise.
If anything ends up found illegally on a bad warrant, it is possible to get that evidence dismissed in court.