A search warrant is a court order that allows a law enforcement officer to search a location, person, or vehicle for evidence of a crime. If the police find evidence during the search, they can seize it and use it against you at trial. Under the Texas Constitution and the 4th amendment of the U.S. Constitution, most searches require warrants.
Not all search warrants are legitimate. If you have been arrested, it is crucial to understand what is required to get a warrant, so you know whether it was legally obtained.
What is Required to Get a Search Warrant in Frisco, Texas?
Before a search warrant is issued in Frisco, a judge must conclude that there is probable cause that a crime was committed and that specific evidence of the offense will be found at a particular location. Probable cause is established in an affidavit that is signed under oath by a law enforcement officer. Probable cause exists, if considering the totality of the circumstances in the affidavit, there is a “fair probability” that law enforcement will find contraband or evidence of a crime in a particular place at the time the warrant is issued. It is more than a hunch or belief and must be supported by articulable facts.
The affidavit that establishes probable cause must include:
- A description of the place or property that will be searched. This description can include the street and apartment number, a physical description of the premises, a legal description of the premises, and the name of the owner or occupant.
- A description of the person or thing that may require seizing.
- The specific crimes believed to have been committed with reference to the penal code statute section number whenever possible.
The facts in the affidavit cannot be based solely on opinion or unauthenticated third-party information. Instead, the facts must be based on the officer’s personal knowledge or information from a reliable source. If the police use an informant, the informant’s reliability must be established, and his statement must be corroborated whenever possible.
Can You Challenge Search Warrants in Frisco, Texas?
Not all search warrants are legitimate, and they can be challenged. If the court determines that the warrant was not valid, any evidence seized during the search can be suppressed. This means that the evidence cannot be used against you at trial, potentially resulting in lesser charges or your case being dropped. There are two primary ways that your defense attorney can challenge the validity of a search warrant.
- Lack of probable cause. If the affidavit fails to meet the probable cause standard, the warrant is not valid. The affidavit cannot contain bare conclusions with no facts to facts to back it up.
- False Statements. Sometimes law enforcement officers lie and twist facts to get a judge to issue a search warrant. Your attorney must prove that the statement in the affidavit is false and show that when the false information is removed from the affidavit, probable cause is not established.
Can Police Conduct a Search Without a Warrant in Frisco?
Not all searches require a warrant in Frisco. Under some circumstances, law enforcement officers are permitted to conduct a search without first obtaining a warrant. Included among these exceptions are:
- The police officer received voluntary consent from a person living on the property.
- The evidence was in plain view. For example, if a police officer stops you for speeding and sees illegal drugs on the passenger seat in plain sight, the officer can seize the evidence.
- Under specific exigent circumstances, there may not be time to get a search warrant. Police are not required to obtain a warrant if they are in “hot pursuit” of an alleged offender, others are in danger, or they need to protect the destruction of property.
- If an officer has reasonable suspicion that a person is armed and dangerous, he can stop and search the individual to check for contraband and weapons.
- Following a lawful arrest, police officers are permitted to search the offender and the area within their immediate control for weapons or other items that may harm the officer.
Speak to an Experienced Frisco Attorney
If you were arrested or have questions about search warrants, you should immediately reach out to a local Frisco criminal defense attorney. Philip D. Ray is an experienced criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor who will provide you with a skilled and aggressive defense. Call The Law Offices of Philip D. Ray today at (469) 588-6770 for a consultation.