Search warrants allow the police to enter a person’s property without their permission. Without a warrant, the police generally need to show that it’s an emergency or they need to get consent from the property owner. But with a warrant, they can come into someone’s home or business and search that property, regardless of the person’s consent.
If you are a property owner, though, don’t assume that this means the police can do anything they want. Just because they have a search warrant doesn’t give them full access. The warrant itself may still have limits or restrictions that need to be honored.
What are they looking for?
One example is that the warrant might define what the police are supposed to be trying to find. Maybe they think that you have been stealing jewelry and they believe you have the products in your home. The warrant might specifically state that they’re searching for jewelry, rather than guns, drugs or other issues.
That said, when the police see things in plain view, they can expand the scope of their search. They may be looking for jewelry when they find unregistered firearms, which could lead to gun charges, as well.
Where are they searching?
Furthermore, the warrant may state exactly where the police are supposed to look for the evidence. If it says that they can look in your house, for example, that may not mean they can go in your garage. Police do have to honor the restrictions in the warrant, even if it allows them to come inside initially.
Do you believe the police may have violated your rights when conducting a search? It can have a huge impact on your case, so be sure you know what steps to take.