Obviously, the easy answer to this question is don’t let them, but the police are little bit more persistent than that and a lot of times they will get a search warrant to search your house. If they come with a valid search warrant, then you ought to just get out of their way and let them search the home. You certainly don’t have to provide any statements to them while their searching the home. Keep your mouth shut, ask for your attorney and don’t answer any of your questions.
Don’t Make Any Statements to Police
They do try to get tricky sometimes. In other words, sometimes they do not have a valid search warrant. So, if they don’t have a valid search warrant and they’re asking to search your home, you certainly have the right to tell them no, I’m not going to permit you to search my home.
You’re going to need to come back with a warrant. There’s nothing wrong with that. One big way to get of having to get a search warrant for a home or a vehicle or to be able to search you is if you give them consent. Consent is the police’s best friend. Anybody who agrees to let them search anything is going to be tough out of luck.
I never understand why people are driving in a car and tell the police it’s okay to search it when they know they have something in there that they shouldn’t — drugs, a gun, whatever the case may be. You don’t have to cooperate with the police.
But if they have a search warrant to your home, you might as well cooperate with the police because it makes it look like you have something to hide or that you have guilty knowledge that something is in your house if you start arguing with them and they’re going to get to search the house anyway. If they have a valid search warrant then they can come in and you’re not going to be able to stop them.
Don’t Consent to Search of Your Home
Even if the search warrant is invalid, in other words it was illegally obtained, they’re still going to be able to get in and search the house. Your attorney will just be able to challenge the search later.
Just remember, never consent to a search of your home, your car, your effects, your person and never sign anything saying that it’s okay for them to search your home or anywhere. Your home is your castle.
You have a Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures based on things in your home, so make sure that you do not cooperate with the police when it comes to searching your home unless they’ve got a valid warrant, then you can ask to see the warrant and make sure that it’s valid.
Make sure that it’s actually the police executing the warrant, and the bottom line is, you will be in a good position in order to argue against them searching your home if they don’t have a valid search warrant.
Police Must Have Probable Cause to Obtain Warrant
In order to get a valid search warrant to search a home anywhere in the San Fernando Valley, the police need a Judge to sign off on it. In order to do that, they have to have probable cause that there is something criminal in the house.
In other words, just because the don’t like the person or think the person is up to no good, that’s not enough to get a search warrant. They’ve got to actually show something that makes it likely that they’re going to find something illegal in the home.
So, a lot of times in order to get that, they’re going to need to conduct a surveillance. They’re going to need to watch the home. They’re going to need to get testimony or evidence from people who have been inside the home to see that there is illegal paraphernalia in there, or they’re going to need some other information or evidence to corroborate that inside that home they’re going to be able to find some sort of evidence of a crime.
Also, you have the issue of staleness and what I mean by that is you can’t go in on October 1st and get a search warrant to search a home and then you wait until January 1st of the following year to search that home. That warrant is going to be stale. There’s no evidence that there’s still going to be that paraphernalia there. You have to execute the warrant within a reasonable amount of time.
Also, if they want to serve the search warrant at night in the wee hours of the night, kick the door open, which a lot of times they do, they’re going to have to get special permission from the Judge in order to do that. If they don’t get that special permission, there may be an issue with the service of that search warrant.
Good Faith Exception
There’s all sorts of different rules. Most of the rules believe it or not are slanted towards the police when it comes to searching people’s homes. There’s what’s called a good faith exception.
In other words, even if the warrant is no good and the magistrate or judge should have never issued the warrant in the first place, if the police, in good faith, believe that the warrant was good, they may be able to get around any type of activity that is unreasonable.
Now, if they lie or say something illegal or give bad information about a warrant, that may be a way to traverse the warrant, and that means look behind the warrant and be able to show that the police are not legitimate and have not given legitimate information.
If you have any questions about search warrants in the San Fernando Valley involving courts in Van Nuys, Chatsworth, San Fernando, Glendale, Burbank — any of the courts in the San Fernando Valley — pick up the phone. Call me. I’ve been doing this twenty-five years. I know all of the ins and outs of search warrants.
Categorised in: Criminal Defense