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What should I expect when a search warrant is issued for my home?

When law enforcement shows up at your door with a search warrant, you have the right to look it over. You do not have the right to refuse entry or to watch the search being conducted. According to the Virginia Department of Judicial Services, though, the officer overseeing the search can give you permission to stay while the search warrant is being enforced. This officer is in charge and everyone, including you, must follow his or her directions.

The document needs to include specific information. It must state what or who is being searched for, and where this search is to be conducted. It must also explain that probable cause was found and what occurred to lead to the search. Finally, a description of the property being searched must be included. Law enforcement will continue until they have found what it states they are there to find or until they have exhausted all abilities to find it. It is illegal for them to conduct a search without a legally obtained warrant.

In order for law enforcement to obtain the legal right to conduct a search on your property, they must go through specific steps. This includes having the document issued by the proper authority, which is usually a judge or magistrate. There must also be probable cause for the issuance of this warrant, which is a right granted under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. Finally, to remain valid, it must be executed within the 15 days after it was issued. This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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