A warrant gives law enforcement authorization to perform a certain act that a judge has found to be supported by probable cause. There are a few different types of warrants, each of which has its own set of requirements that must be met to be found lawful.
A search warrant provides law enforcement authorization to search a particular person, place, or thing. These warrants are issued by a judge after reviewing an application submitted by law enforcement which contains one or more sworn statements being offered to establish the probable cause necessary to search as requested. In order to protect a person’s Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures, Florida law requires search warrants meet certain legal requirements. Such requirements include that the warrant name or describe the person, place, or thing to be searched and that it particularly describe the property or thing to be seized. These requirements, among others, provide the individual whose person or property is being searched notice as to the permissible limits of the search in order to protect his or her constitutional rights. Search warrants must meet the minimum legal requirements for any evidence seized to be admissible against those who had an expectation of privacy in the area searched.
Arrest warrants, like search warrants, are issued by a judge upon reviewing sworn statements of law enforcement which are offered to show probable cause exists to arrest a particular person. Also like search warrants, arrest warrants must meet minimum legal requirements for the actions of law enforcement to be upheld in a court of law.
In addition to challenging these warrants after they are executed, a criminal defense lawyer can help during the initial investigation by speaking with law enforcement regarding their investigation and conducting his or her own investigation of the facts and witnesses. Of course, the goal of this proactive approach is to avoid formal arrest or charges from occurring at all. However, should an arrest become imminent, it may be coordinated with law enforcement to take place at a time and location that will eliminate the embarrassment and inconvenience that accompanies an arrest in public or in front of friends and family. Further arrangements may also be made to streamline the arrest and booking process such as coordinating with a local bondsman to post bond immediately, allowing the arrested to get back home to take care of family and employment responsibilities as soon as possible.
A final type of warrant is called a bench warrant, or capias, which is issued by a judge when a defendant fails to appear for a required court hearing. Put simply, judges do not take these failures to appear lightly. Unlike a typical arrest warrant, a capias may be withdrawn by the issuing judge under most circumstances, but must be handled appropriately.
If you have been the subject of a search warrant, or fear there may be a warrant for your arrest, do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of John M. Phillips for a free consultation to discuss your situation and how we can help.