What Should I Do If Police Show Up to My Home With a Search Warrant?
Posted on Feb 28, 2018 in Criminal Defense
You’re relaxing at home when suddenly there is a loud and unexpected knock on the door. It’s not a friendly neighbor or a girl scout selling cookies – it’s the police. They sternly tell you they have a search warrant for your house or apartment and demand to be let in.
At that moment your mind may be racing with questions. You might have no idea why police are there. Even if you think you know why the cops and prosecutors went to the trouble of obtaining a warrant, you may not be sure what to do at that moment.
It is an uncomfortable and downright scary situation. It is also one which requires that you keep your cool to avoid making things worse. You have rights, but you need to assert and protect those rights without interfering with the officers’ lawful activity and without unnecessarily antagonizing them.
Here are some tips for how to handle a search warrant:
You may be understandably indignant and uneasy about a bunch of police officers going through your house and your possessions, looking for evidence they hope they can use against you or someone you know. You may rightfully believe the warrant is unjustified or improper. There will be a time and a place to argue that, but it is not with the officers in your home.
Be respectful and non-confrontational. Don’t get in their way, but don’t feel the need to go out of your way to help them or make things easier. If the warrant was improper or the officer exceeded their authority or acted wrongfully, you have remedies that could be compromised if you act out during the search or impede the officers’ work.
Ask to Inspect the Warrant Before Entry
A valid search warrant must be approved and signed by a judge. It also needs to contain specific information about the property or area to be searched, when police can execute the warrant and conduct the search, and describe what the police are looking for. If the warrant identifies only limited parts of your property, do not give your consent to search beyond that area (but don’t physically stop the officers).
If the officers’ activities go beyond the areas identified or otherwise exceeds the warrant’s authority, any evidence obtained from such a search could be barred from use in any prosecution. If you consent to a search, however, you could lose your right to challenge the evidence on that basis.
Even while acting within the authority of a warrant, police can get overzealous in their search and act unreasonably, such as breaking things or leaving a big mess. In such cases, your video could be used by your criminal defense lawyer to challenge the validity of the search or be used in a civil claim for damages caused by the officers’ conduct during the search.
Call a New Orleans Criminal Defense Attorney Immediately
As noted, there will be a time and place to challenge the search. There is also a person to do that: your criminal defense lawyer. Contact a New Orleans criminal defense attorney as soon as you can after police arrive with their warrant. He or she will be able to further advise you how to proceed. They will also be able to determine whether there is any basis for challenging the search and can move to get any evidence obtained in the search suppressed.
Bloom Legal: Let Our New Orleans Criminal Defense Attorneys Help
If you have been served with a warrant, arrested, or charged with a crime in New Orleans or elsewhere in Louisiana, please contact Bloom Legal, LLC as soon as possible at 504-599-9997 or contact us online now. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys stand ready to vigorously protect your rights, are available 24/7, and will work tirelessly to obtain the best possible result so you can move forward with your life.