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Search Warrants Essay

1621 words - 7 pages

Search Warrants & Probable Cause
Dale Langston
American Intercontinental University

This paper examines the many factors of search warrants it will examine the process by which a search warrant may be applied for and issued, focusing on the requirements of the Fourth Amendment. This paper will also describe probable cause and the standard by which the cause is fulfilled. In addition, it will describe and discuss at least two forms of searches that do not need a warrant. Also discussed in the study is warrant less searches, if the reasons are compelling, and if all requests require probable cause exists or exceptions.

Search Warrants & Probable Cause
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An officer may not search a residence without the permission of the owners. The only person who can issue a search warrant from a judge (LII, 2010). To get a warrant, the officer must show probable cause and believe that the search is allowed. (LII, 2010). For an agent to support their analyses they must have an affidavit describing in detail where they are looking and items to be seized (LII, 2010). In deciding whether the warrant should be issued or not the judge should take into consideration all the circumstances (LII, 2010). The judge may limit when and how the police can conduct a search on the type of warrant being issued. (LII, 2010). There does not need to be present any type of crime committed in order for officers to pursue a warrant conferring to the Fourth Amendment (LII, 2010). But they have to show probable cause that the evidence sought exists (LII, 2010).
The probable cause is when officers trust that a individual has committed a offense based on factual evidence and not merely on suspicion (probable cause, 2007). Sources of probable cause can be placed in four (4) categories: 1) observation, 2) expertise, 3) information, and 4) circumstantial evidence (probable cause, 2007). Observation is the information that agents have obtained by sight, smell or hearing. . Observations were also used when an officer detects that the general pattern of criminal activity containing suspicious behavior (probable cause, 2007). Expertise are skills that officers are educated in, such as being competent to recite gang drawings and tattoos, detection tool used in robbery or knowing when a particular motion or gesture shows that criminal activity is imminent (probable cause, 2007). Information is things like reports provided by witnesses and victims, informants, and announcements made through police bulletins, radio and TV (probable cause, 2007). Finally, the circumstantial evidence is indirect evidence which implies that a crime has been committed, but does not directly prove it (probable cause, 2007). Evidence obtained by searches and seizures made without probable cause cannot be used against the defendant at trial (probable cause, 2007).
There are many types of searches that the police may conduct warrantless, two include the search of a motor vehicle and frisk searches. A frisk search or when an officer is allowed to search outer clothing of a person for weapons (LaMance, 1999 - 2012) When a police officer frisk someone they can feel other elements that may arise suspicion, but the officer can legally search inside pocket if he feels a weapon, the only way a police officer can look elsewhere is if this is a search incidental to arrest also a person may give and officer permission to search. After that, if the agent finds something illegal, the search is then transformed into a legal research officer may lawfully arrest a person (LaMance, 1999-2012). Searching of a motor vehicle is another research that can be done without a warrant if the...

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