Standing in your kitchen at 6:03 a.m. and savoring the aroma of your hot coffee that you are about to press to your lips, you hear a loud banging sound followed by a booming voice on a bullhorn barking, “Open up – Police – Search Warrant.” Before your brain can register if you are still asleep and dreaming, you see your coffee fly to the floor as you are briskly forced to the ground and handcuffed by large men clad in paramilitary. Quickly, you realize that you are not the victim of a home invasion – rather, you have been served a search warrant.
What Is a Search Warrant?
A search warrant is an order signed by a judge allowing police to search a home, business, property, or even a person to look for evidence related to a crime. Before issuing a search warrant, the judge must review a sworn statement prepared by a police officer called an affidavit that lists the facts and circumstances as to why police believe evidence of a crime may be found in the location to be searched.
What Kind of Evidence Can They Look For?
Police have a significant amount of power, enough to search for almost anything that could be evidence of a crime or could assist an ongoing criminal investigation. The general exception to this rule is that police can only look in areas that might reasonably house the evidence they are looking for. For example, police cannot look for a baby elephant in a medicine chest (unless the elephant is tiny or the medicine chest is a walk in closet).
Some examples of evidence that police or federal agents look for in specific types of crimes are:
- Drug Offenses – drugs, financial records, ledgers
- White Collar Crimes – business records, taxes, computers
- Sex Crimes and Homicide – DNA and other biological evidence
- Vehicular Crimes – A driver’s blood, access to the vehicle involved in an accident
But They Left Without Arresting Me – Why Worry?
When police or federal agents have conducted a search but have not arrested anyone, this is an indicator that things are really serious and that you need to hire an experienced Phoenix criminal defense attorney with extensive knowledge about search warrants. This situation is indicative of the fact that there is a larger, broader, and more extensive ongoing criminal investigation and that you could be a target.
By hiring a criminal defense lawyer, you can take control of the situation and be proactive to get in the driver’s seat of your situation. If you don’t take advantage of the opportunity to hire counsel, the next knock at the door is usually when you have been indicted on serious felony charges and police are there to arrest you.
If you or someone you know has been served a search warrant, or if you have been charged with a crime involving a search warrant, contact the Law Office of Jason D. Lamm today and schedule a consultation with our Phoenix criminal defense lawyer!