Search warrant requirements under the Fourth Amendment

Most of our readers probably know that searches are a regular part of police practice throughout the country. Residents of Fresno have probably seen news stories about "drug busts" where a SWAT unit raids a person's home and finds drugs or weapons. Still, what many people may not know is that in the vast majority of these types of raids, law enforcement officials have gone through the process of securing a search warrant. Still, in some cases, the warrant may not be adequate and can be questioned by a criminal defense attorney.

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects Americans from illegal searches and seizures. As a result, law enforcement officials need to provide highly detailed - and sworn - statements to a judicial officer for review before a search warrant can be obtained. The evidence presented for review must be enough to convince the judicial officer that there is probable cause to believe a crime is occurring and the search is therefore justified.

In addition, the information presented for review must be specific enough to describe the exact location that is to be searched. In many cases, the location of a search and seizure is simply a person's residence, identified by the address. Once inside the residence that is identified, the police can then search throughout the building for the illegal drugs or weapons that they believe are inside.

One of the first things that will usually occur when a Fresno resident is facing drug charges under these types of circumstances is that the search warrant will be evaluated for its sufficiency. If a criminal defense strategy can prove that the warrant is deficient in any way, the evidence that is seized could be suppressed in court.

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