Warrants are obtained when an officer needs to search a home for evidence of a crime but does not have the permission from the homeowner to enter the home. When they need to obtain a warrant, they will need to explain what they’re looking for and where they expect to find it. They cannot search outside of the scope of the warrant.
The Scope of a Warrant
Where the search will take place, such as a person’s home, and what the officers are searching for make up the scope of the warrant and the officer cannot search outside of the scope of the warrant. They cannot look in places where the items they’re searching for cannot possibly be found.
If they’re looking for a person, for example, they can only look in places where a person could be reasonably hiding. A person can hide under a mattress or in a closet, but they cannot reasonably hide in a small drawer in the kitchen.
Items Found That Weren’t In the Warrant
If the officers are searching the home for a hard drive, they can look in anywhere that a hard drive can fit, which can include most of a home. When they’re searching for the hard drive, they can seize other things that they find as long as they’re within the scope of the warrant.
For instance, the warrant might state they can search the entire home for a hard drive. During the search, they look into a drawer in the bathroom and find drug paraphernalia. Even though the paraphernalia wasn’t listed in the warrant, it’s considered found inside the scope of the warrant because it’s in a place they could have found a hard drive.
Suppressing the Evidence From a Warrant Search
If anything is seized that does not fit the scope of the warrant, that evidence may be able to be suppressed. This means it cannot be used in court and the charges relating to that evidence could be dismissed due to a lack of lawfully obtained evidence.
If you’ve been arrested because of evidence collected through a search with a warrant, make sure you talk to an attorney like Aric Cramer as quickly as possible. An attorney can help you determine if the search was legal and if the evidence against you can be used in court or if it can be suppressed.