Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Three Ways to Challenge a Search Warrant

Law enforcement arrested three individuals after discovering both drugs and evidence of manufacturing at a residence. The Ware Police Department reports that three individuals were arrested after executing a search warrant for a residence located on Monson Turnpike Road with the assistance of the Monson and Warren Police Departments. The search warrant was obtained following an extensive investigation into drug activity in the area. 

During the search of the residence, an undisclosed amount of crack cocaine was located, as was suboxone and other drug paraphernalia. Other evidence that was seized was consistent with the manufacturing of crack cocaine. Various charges were made against the suspects including conspiracy to violate drug laws, possession of Class B drugs, and manufacturing a class B drug, One of the suspects was subsequently held without bail until his arraignment while the other two suspects were released on personal recognizance with their arraignment.

Unfortunately, law enforcement in Massachusetts can enter your home and seize evidence if they have a valid search warrant. Evidence seized under a search warrant can later be used in a criminal trial. It is often possible, however, to request a Franks hearing to keep evidence out of a trial. While the odds of a successful Franks hearing are low, you still might be able to protect your Constitutional rights if the police did not follow proper procedures. This article reviews some of the most common ways that people can challenge search warrants.

Lack of Probable Cause

One of the most common important questions to ask about search warrants is whether probable cause existed to permit such a search. Probable cause is found in not just a sentence or two in an affidavit but instead is assessed based on the “totality of the circumstances.” If it can be established that the judge lacked a substantial basis for concluding that probable cause existed, the defense challenge will fail.

Errors in Time

Timing is critical when considering a search warrant’s validity. Law enforcement must establish that the things they want to seize are likely to be on the premises at the time that a warrant is requested. One example of where time must be carefully considered is when an anonymous tip has spurred law enforcement into action. If a search warrant application’s affidavit fails to state when law enforcement received the tip or when the conduction in question occurred, a search warrant will likely be found invalid because it cannot be justified that the object of the search will be on the property at the time the judge signs the warrant.

Place Errors

Another common way to argue against search warrants is to claim that premises referenced in documentation supporting the search are not sufficient. The language of the Fourth Amendment demands that a search warrant be specific to the place being searched. If a search warrant fails to include statements defining where will be searched, it is not valid on its face. Instead, search warrants must provide the location of the property to be searched and distinguish this location from other areas.

Obtain the Assistance of a Compassionate Criminal Defense Attorney

A drug-related conviction carries various penalties and substantial stigma. As a result, if you are left facing one of these charges, it is a good idea to obtain the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Contact attorney Edward R Molari today to schedule a free case evaluation.