It might not always seem like it, but police do not have unlimited power. The Bill of Rights limits how far law enforcement can go when they want to search your property for contraband, like drugs.
With some exceptions, the Fourth Amendment requires police to get a search warrant from a neutral judge or other magistrate before they can search your home, workplace, vehicle or other private property. But just because the police present a warrant when they show up, it does not mean the warrant is necessarily valid. There could be errors that you can challenge in court if you get arrested and charged as a result of the search.
Two search warrant requirements — that not every warrant issued in Mississippi actually contains — are:
- Probable cause. The applicant for the warrant must convince the magistrate that probable cause exists to believe that evidence of a crime is present in the place to be searched. Probable cause basically means the officer requesting the warrant reasonably believed that a crime was taking place on the premises. It is possible to challenge whether probable cause really existed prior to the search.
- Particularity. A valid search warrant must describe in detail which premises will be searched and what the police are looking for. It cannot be overly broad to give the police to search anywhere, anytime for anything. Lack of particularity in the scope or location of the search could be grounds to challenge the warrant.
The law regarding whether a search warrant meets the requirements of the Fourth Amendment, among other things, is complex. Your rights matter, and defending them should be done right. That means working with an experienced defense attorney.