What does Warrant mean?

A warrant is a court order signed by a judge that allows the police or another law enforcement officer to perform an action which would normally be considered a violation of an individual's legal rights. Common warrants include a search warrant, an extradition warrant, an arrest warrant and a bench warrant. Different names vary by state but generally are executed by the state or government in a similar manner.

One of the most common types of warrants is the search warrant which allows the police to search a person's property. This type of warrant is needed, per the 4th Amendment to the U.S. constitution, and places limits on the power of the police to search a person and their property and take their property.

If a police officer wants a warrant they must establish probable cause for the requested action. If they have probable cause they can ask a judge to issue the search warrant, which should be done only if there is evidence a crime has taken place or the police believe evidence from a crime may be on the property. Probable cause for a search warrant may be testimony from a witness or observations from either the police officer or another person who is deemed reliable by state.

Failing to get the proper warrants may allow the defendant to have the evidence thrown out of court if they can prove the search warrant was not properly obtained or the search was deemed unreasonable.

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