Basic Law Relating to Warrants

Posted on Thursday, December 18th, 2014 at 4:01 pm    

Nashville criminal attorneyIf you or a loved one are facing criminal charges, it’s important to have a knowledgeable, compassionate Nashville criminal attorney in your corner. Although every case is different, this article covers some basic information regarding warrants.

Understanding When Police Need a Warrant

As your Nashville criminal lawyer can explain, a criminal suspect is afforded certain Constitutional protections against unreasonable searches and seizures under the Fourth Amendment. On a very broad scope, this protection often takes the form of a warrant requirement for police before they can lawfully search your property. Police obtain a warrant by submitting a written request to a judge or magistrate detailing what they wish to search. They must prove to the judge or magistrate that they have probable cause that criminal activity is occurring at the place in question or that evidence can be found from the property that is the subject of the warrant. Probable cause can be a fairly broad standard. That said, the warrant must be specific as to the property or premises subject to the search.

Exceptions to the Warrant Requirement

Though the warrant requirement is the general rule when it comes to searches and seizures, there are notable exceptions. Your Nashville criminal lawyer can explain circumstances that would allow the police to search your property or premises without first obtaining a warrant. Those exceptions fall under a few broad categories such as:

  • Consent of the owner;
  • Evidence in plain view;
  • Property search incident to an arrest (aimed at securing property for the officer’s own protection); or
  • Emergencies (i.e. if a crime occurs right in front of the officer or he reasonably believes someone is in danger).

Your attorney can review how these exceptions might apply in your case if at all. If law enforcement violates the warrant requirement and no exception applies, the evidence collected under the defective warrant may not be admissible.

To speak to an experienced Nashville criminal attorney about your sensitive legal matters, contact the offices of Horst Law. For more information or to set up an appointment for an initial consultation, call (615) 403-2971.