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What is a search warrant?

Anyone who watches police dramas has witnessed a fictitious scene in which a police officer pounds on a person's door and demands access because they have a search warrant. According to these popular shows, a search warrant appears to be a magic key that grants law enforcement officials access to any location that they want to go. However, Tennessee residents should know that search warrants are judicially ordered devices that must meet and conform to certain legal standards.

Pursuant to the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, individuals should remain free from unreasonable searches and seizures of their persons and property. A search warrant grants law enforcement officials the right to undertake such searches and seizures, if necessary, but are only granted when the law enforcement officials have probable cause to believe that evidence of illegality exists.

To this end, a police officer may not be able to secure a search warrant for someone's home if they have no evidence that the individual living there is engaged in criminal activity or undertaking criminal intents. Readers should understand, however, that exceptions exist to this general rule and law enforcement officials may be able to get around a missing search warrant if emergency or extenuating circumstances exist.

When a Tennessee resident is arrested on drug charges after having allegedly illegal substances seized from their control, they should look into the legality of the search on which their arrest was based. A criminal defense attorney may be able to help them work through the facts of their legal dilemma to find out if the event that led to their arrest was properly executed or in violation of their Fourth Amendment rights.

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Law Office of Sam Byrd
3828 Dayton Blvd
Chattanooga, TN 37415

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