The United States and New York State Constitutions both protect citizens from unreasonable search and seizure, but there are situations in which the search of a criminal suspect’s property is lawful. If you are suspected of committing a crime, it is important that you understand your rights so that you know whether or not you should submit to a search, and whether you and your criminal defense attorney should contest the admission of unlawfully obtained evidence during your trial.
What Does a Search Warrant Allow in New York?
A search warrant allows law enforcement officers to search a designated place, vehicle, or person and seize specified property to deliver to the court, for example, in cases involving criminal drug or weapons possession. In combination with an arrest warrant, a search warrant can also allow officers to search designated premises, including the residence of a third party, in order to find and place a suspect under arrest. Depending on the court that issued the warrant, it may be valid throughout the state or only within designated counties. A warrant is valid for 10 days after it is issued, and usually, only between the hours of 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. Unless officers have applied for and been granted an exception, they are generally required to notify and display the warrant to the person or owner of the property being searched. However, if the person refuses the search, the officer is authorized to use physical force to perform it.
What Does a Police Officer Need to Obtain a Search Warrant?
When applying for a search warrant, officers must demonstrate that they have reasonable cause to believe that the suspect or unlawful property can be found on the premises, in the vehicle, or on the person designated. Law enforcement officers are required to support their belief with sworn allegations of facts based on personal knowledge, identified sources, and depositions of other people with knowledge of the place or person to be searched.
Are There Exceptions to a Search Warrant?
Under certain circumstances, a police officer can lawfully search a person, place, or vehicle without a warrant. For example, officers can search a person during a lawful arrest to protect themselves from dangerous weapons, and they can also search and seize property when it is in plain sight or when a person consents to the search. Under New York law, officers can also stop and search a person in public with reasonable suspicion that the person has committed a crime, although in practice the number of these stop-and-frisk searches has decreased drastically since a 2013 lawsuit challenging their constitutionality.
Contact a New York Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you believe that you or your property has been subject to unlawful search or seizure, either without a warrant or because the warrant was unlawfully obtained or executed, contact a knowledgeable Manhattan criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. At JOEY JACKSON LAW, PLLC, we can help you build a strong defense and ensure that no illegally obtained evidence is used against you. Call our office today at 833-563-9522 to schedule your confidential consultation.