According to the law in every state and in the Federal courts, “probable cause” is needed before a search warrant can be properly signed by a judge or magistrate. But, the reality is that almost all judges sign search warrants after the affidavits or applications for a warrant is presented to them by police officers or state or Federal agents. Unfortunately, rarely does a judge reject signing a search warrant.
Probable cause is when there is a fair probability that evidence of a crime or contraband will be found in the place described in the warrant. So, the requirements are not strict – which is why it is so easy for law enforcement agents to get the search warrants they want. Search warrants should not be “fishing expeditions”, but they often are. And property (homes, offices, cars, etc.) is often destroyed by the searching police or agents under the guise of looking for the evidence or contraband.
Valid search warrants must state the exact place to be searched and the things to be seized.
Search warrants are governed by the Fourth Amendment, and by state law and constitutions when the warrants are issued by state judges.
If you have been the subject of a search, call us immediately so we can properly represent you. Winning a motion to suppress an illegal search can make all the difference in the result of the case against you.