Attorney at Law

Search Warrants



Unless there is some type of exception, the police are supposed to obtain a warrant from a judge, based on probable cause, prior to searching your person, car, business, or house.  To get the warrant, the officer submits an affidavit to the judge, explaining why the officer believes there is probable cause for the search.  If the judge agrees, the warrant is issued and the police serve it, looking for whatever information they have asked for.

This is a complicated area of law, filled with mine fields for the unwary.  

In order to challenge an illegal search, you must first have standing.  Standing is a reasonable expectation of privacy the the item or location searched.

A good example of this rule is from a federal drug case we handled a few years ago.  Mr. Burge represented the leader of a drug conspiracy.  Drugs were shipped from the mainland to Hawaii in the mail.  In what was an arguably illegal search, the police intercepted the drugs.  They then followed the drugs to the source and arrested all involved.  There was no doubt that Mr. Burge's client was the leader of the group and that the drugs were intended for him.  However, since the package did not have the client's name on it, he did not have an expectation of privacy.  Therefore, he had no standing to challenge the illegal search, even though the same drugs were being used against him at trial.



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