The Constitution provides you protection against unreasonable searches and seizures of property. After a crime, the police conducting an investigation must get a warrant to gather evidence or arrest you.
Your right to freedom hinges on the police following a legal process to search and gather evidence against you. Learn more about a search warrant and what it may mean to you.
What does a warrant do?
When the police want to gather evidence in a crime, the only way to ensure they follow the law is to get a warrant. This court order allows them to conduct an investigation of an identified location and seize specific evidence of a crime.
What proof do police officers need to obtain a warrant?
When the police apply for a warrant, they need to indicate why they believe it is the proper course of action. The police need to show probable cause for following this line of the investigation against you. In support of this, police should offer evidence from a third party that implicates you, or something you have said or done leads them to believe you are a suspect.
Can police collect evidence without one?
There are instances where police may gain entry to your personal space without a warrant. The most common example is during a traffic stop. The police see something in plain sight that gives them probable cause to believe you have committed a crime. They may also ask your permission to search, and if you grant it, they do not need a warrant. A third more unusual way is if the officers believe you will destroy evidence before they can get a warrant.
Even with a warrant, the police do not have carte blanche to act as they wish. Finding help from someone who knows the process may get you through any criminal charges.