Search Warrant Definition and Legal Meaning
On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Search Warrant, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.
What is Search Warrant?
(n) Search Warrant is the written order issued by a judge permitting the law enforcing officers to search the premises including the vehicle of a person involved or believed to be involved in criminal activities for collecting evidences which is not available otherwise.
History and Meaning of Search Warrant
A search warrant is a legal document issued by a judge or magistrate permitting law enforcement officials to enter a premises and search for evidence of criminal activity. The warrant must specify the exact location to be searched and the items or evidence to be seized. The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures, and a search warrant is an important safeguard to prevent law enforcement from conducting searches without probable cause.
The concept of search warrants has been around for centuries, dating back to English common law in the 18th century. The idea was to prevent arbitrary searches and seizures by government officials, and to give citizens the right to privacy in their homes and property. In the United States, search warrants are governed by the Fourth Amendment, and in order to obtain a warrant, law enforcement must demonstrate probable cause to a judge, based on specific facts and evidence related to the crime in question.
Examples of Search Warrant
- Law enforcement officials obtained a search warrant to enter the suspect's home and search for illegal drugs.
- The judge issued a search warrant allowing police to search the suspect's car for evidence of a hit-and-run accident.
- FBI agents presented a search warrant to a technology company in order to access the suspect's emails and social media accounts.
Legal Terms Similar to Search Warrant
- Arrest warrant - a legal document issued by a judge authorizing law enforcement to arrest a suspect and bring them into custody.
- Subpoena - a legal document requiring someone to appear in court or produce evidence in a legal proceeding.
- Wiretap warrant - a legal document authorizing law enforcement to conduct electronic surveillance on a suspect's communications.