There are rules that law enforcement must adhere to whenever they search a person or property. One of the steps outlined in these rules is properly serving a warrant. Here is a brief overview of what this means – and what you should do during this process.
What does “serving” a search warrant mean?
There are two critical steps to serving a search warrant. According to North Carolina law:
- The police must read you the details of the search warrant
- The police must also provide a copy of the search warrant for you
These steps are necessary before the police begin the search. Of course, there are some exceptions. The police may be able to enter the premises without announcing themselves or serving the warrant immediately if they believe someone’s life is in danger or another emergency is occurring.
What should you look for in the warrant?
While reading the warrant and providing a copy might be necessary, it can still be difficult for individuals to process the information included in the warrant. After all, police showing up at your door to conduct a search can be an incredibly stressful situation. It is critical to note that a search warrant generally should include the following information:
- The probable cause that led to the search, or the crime suspected
- The locations to be searched, and the items the police are looking for
- The time frame in which this search must occur
As we have discussed in previous blog posts, it is important to remember that all of the information on the warrant must be correct for it to be valid. This includes the spelling of your name and your address.
You should not be left in the dark when a search occurs. From the warrant, you should understand what police are looking for as well as why they are conducting a search in the first place.
It is critical to understand the elements of a search, as well as your rights under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. However, if you are the subject of a search, it is important to seek legal guidance to protect yourself.