Two police officers knock on a door to search
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A search warrant is a powerful legal document. It grants law enforcement officers the authority to access your home, computer, or other property to look for evidence of a crime. If you are later charged with a crime based on evidence found during the search, the search warrant becomes an essential part of your defense strategy.

Many defendants do not know how to analyze a search warrant properly. As such, they will either assume the warrant is valid and ignore it entirely in their defense or simply call the search illegal without pointing to any specific illegality. Both are ineffective methods of challenging a search warrant.

Look at These Four Components of a Search Warrant

You might not realize that if you are charged with a crime based on a search warrant, you and your criminal defense attorney have a right to review the warrant. When you receive the warrant, look carefully at the following information.

The Crime Being Investigated

Police officers should not issue a search warrant if they cannot articulate the crime or crimes they are purportedly investigating.

The mere suspicion that you are involved in criminal activity is not enough to support a search warrant. Not only must the officer specify the crime being investigated, but they must also provide facts to the court that show probable cause to believe those crimes are being or have been committed.

Note that the warrant does not need to state that you yourself are suspected of committing a crime — there simply must be evidence that someone is committing a crime.

The Place to Be Searched

The warrant should also inform the court of the place where law enforcement officers want to search for evidence.

This area must be specified with such clarity that a reasonable officer reading the warrant would know where they are free to look and where they are not. A nonspecific warrant is also called a general warrant and is not permitted by law.

Beyond this, the officer must provide a sworn statement telling the court why they believe they will find evidence of the crimes they are investigating there.

The Items to Be Seized

Next, examine the warrant paperwork to see what items officers intended to seize. 

The document should disclose these items of evidence by name and include a statement as to how they are connected to the crime being investigated. This description tells officers what they can look for and limits their search to places where such evidence could reasonably be located.

The Inventory of Things Taken

Once officers have finished executing the warrant, they will leave you with an inventory of the items they take. Go over this list closely, as it can be useful in determining whether the officers have exceeded the scope of their search.

Indicators that this may have happened include listing items that were not in plain view or within an area where law enforcement should have been searching for evidence.

Contact the Law Office of Mo Abusaft, Your Spartanburg Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with an offense in Spartanburg or elsewhere in South Carolina, a criminal defense attorney from the Law Office of Mo Abusaft can help you form a defense.

We will carefully review all aspects of the investigation, including any search warrants that are issued, for evidence of police impropriety, misconduct, or violations of your rights.

The search warrant in your case can yield important evidence useful for your defense. The Law Office of Mo Abusaft can show you how. Contact us today to discuss the charges in your case.